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Approved Nov 14, 2007 - Local Mitigation Meeting Minutes

Santa Rosa County
Local Mitigation Strategy (LMS) Task Force
Steering Committee
Novermber 14, 2007
Milton, Florida

The Santa Rosa County LMS Task Force met on the above date with 18 members present. A copy of the sign in sheet showing attendees is attached in the file. Vice ChairmanDave Szymanskicalled the meeting to order at 1:00 p.m.

Approval of Minutes

Donna Adams moved approval of the minutes from the August 29, 2007 meeting; Daniel Hahn seconded, and the vote passed unanimously.

Pre-Disaster Mitigation application and Rebuild Northwest Florida Partnership

Sharon Marsh, Santa Rosa County Grants Coordinator, said the Pre-Disaster Mitigation grant is opening at the end of this year. She said she has been in discussion with Rebuild Northwest Florida about how the County can maximize HMGP (Hazard Mitigation Grant Program) money that was part of the allocation from Hurricane Dennis and whether the County wants to apply for the Pre-Disaster Mitigation grant as well. Marsh said the County applied for the Pre-Disaster Mitigation grant last year and had four homeowners complete the application process for shutters. She said the State never submitted the applications to the Federal government. Marsh said the State thought there might be a better grant for the shutter applications. She said the State found a flood mitigation grant for the shutters and had difficulty making the applications fit the grant so nothing was done with the applications. Marsh said she is not sure why the State tried to make shutters fit into flood mitigation. She said she is concerned with the way applications are handled by the State and is worried this year’s applications may be handled the same irresponsible way.

Marsh said Sandra Woodbery is here from Rebuild Northwest Florida. She said she met with Woodbery to talk about the County’s mitigation waiting list and Rebuild Northwest
Florida’s waiting list. Marsh said the goal is to improve the current way of doing Pre- Disaster Mitigation projects to help get as many people served as rapidly as possible with the $800,000.00 available, and then look at applying next year for the Pre-Disaster Mitigation money if needed. She said the Pre-Disaster Mitigation grant is a very competitive grant. Marsh said the State felt shutters were not very competitive so they did not forward the applications that were submitted.

Marsh said a commitment has been made to communicate better with each other (Santa Rosa County and Rebuild Northwest Florida) and to get a process in place that meets the
needs of Santa Rosa County’s residents in terms of residential mitigation. She asked Woodbery to talk about Rebuild Northwest Florida and what they have put in place in terms of processes.

Woodbery provided a handout outlining the Rebuild Northwest Florida Home Hurricane Mitigation Program. (Attachment in file) She discussed systems in place in the Rebuild Northwest Florida Mitigation program. Woodbery said Rebuild Northwest Florida is working with Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. She said everything is in place for a successful program. Woodbery said Rebuild Northwest Florida has completed over 650 mitigation projects in Escambia County. She said other counties in the State have been looking at Rebuild Northwest Florida’s program to replicate it in their county. Woodbery said the process developed retrofits anentire house. She discussed everything that is done to retrofit houses. Woodbery said the FEMA grant is written in a way that requires strapping the roof to the wall to qualify for retrofitting. She discussed the steps an applicant must go through to have their home mitigated. Woodbery said most mitigation projects that Rebuild Northwest Florida sends to FEMA for approval are approved, and most applicants pay nothing for the improvements. She said an applicant does not have to qualify for a FEMA grant based on income, but the match dollars currently in place are only available to low income applicants. Woodbery said the goal is to spend the entire $800,000.00 available in Santa Rosa County as mitigation money and to get the match dollars for low income individuals. She distributed a magazine produced by one of Rebuild Northwest Florida’s clients that contains an article about Rebuild Northwest Florida. (Attachment in file)

Daniel Hahn, Santa Rosa County Emergency Management Plans Chief, asked how Rebuild Northwest Florida determines who will be mitigated. Woodbery discussed factors Rebuild Northwest Florida uses to determine who should be mitigated. She said there are currently 20,000 names on Rebuild Northwest Florida’s mitigation list for Santa Rosa County. Woodbery said there are some people who should be on the list but were left off for different reasons. She said Rebuild Northwest Florida is trying to identify these people so they can be helped. Woodbery said Rebuild Northwest Florida is limited to approximately 150 projects due to limited funds. She said she felt each house can be improved for approximately $6,000.00. Woodbery said Rebuild Northwest Florida has the highest output yield in the State for the amount offunds available.

Marsh said she and Josy Combs, Assistant Grants Coordinator, maintain a list of approximately 75 people needing mitigation in Santa Rosa County. She said the 75 people on the County’s list will be compared to the Rebuild Northwest Florida list to see if any of the people are on both lists and can be mitigated immediately with Rebuild Northwest Florida funds. Marsh said she will continue to work with Woodbery to try to implement a process to move funds out into the community as quickly as possible. Hahn asked if Rebuild Northwest Florida’s list will be used to mitigate homes on the County’s list in order to make grant money go further. Marsh said yes. Hahn asked how data pertaining to mitigation compiled by Rebuild Northwest Florida can be obtained by the County. Woodbery said she can provide contact information for the data. She said Rebuild Northwest Florida’s list is public record unlike the County’s list which is confidential. Hahn said Santa Rosa County is interested in tracking Rebuild Northwest Florida’s mitigation efforts in Santa Rosa County to document success stories. Woodbery said both the State and Federal government require large amounts of information for mitigation grants. She said all information from mitigation inspections is put into a database and forwarded to the State and Federal government. Woodbery said mitigated properties are available for inspection after events to allow tracking the effectiveness of
mitigations. Marsh said staff will work with Woodbery to develop a written agreement that addresses responsibilities of both parties to make mitigation efforts successful in Santa Rosa County.

Warren Brown, Navarre resident, asked if the strapping of older homes has been incorporated into the new Building Code. Rhonda Royals, Deputy Building Official, discussed requirements in the Building Code pertaining to home opening protection in certain areas in the County. Woodbery said My Safe Florida Home has eliminated roof strapping as one of their mitigation features. She said she asked My Safe Florida Home why they eliminated roof strapping, and they told her recent Building Code changes will cause all roofs to be up to Code within 10 years. Woodbery said Rebuild Northwest Florida will continue to strap roofs to help applicants become Code compliant. Donna Adams, City Manager, asked if new people can be added to the mitigation lists. Marsh said new people can always be added to the County’s list. She said the County will continue to work with Rebuild Northwest Florida to identify people on the County’s list that are in the areas that Rebuild Northwest Florida can help. Marsh said if the $800,000.00 can not be spent in the areas identified by Rebuild orthwest Florida, then the County will assist Rebuild Northwest Florida in getting a modification to the contract.

Adams said the County is now administering SHIP program funds for housing rehabilitation. She asked if the SHIP program performs the same services as the Rebuild Northwest Florida program. Marsh discussed rehabilitation done through the SHIP program. She said a Residential Construction Mitigation grant was used to do some shuttering and strapping on quite a number of homes in the past. Marsh said what is done in the future will depend on funds received and the priorities the SHIP Advisory Committee sets up. She said everything possible needs to be done to strengthen homes to prevent future problems. Adams asked if the SHIP program and Rebuild Northwest Florida program will work together. Marsh said yes. She said there is a very good working relationship between the two programs. Adams asked who prospective mitigation applicants need to contact for help. Marsh said prospective applicants can call her office and the caller will be directed to the correct entity. TonyGomillion, Santa Rosa County Public Services Director, said the current plan is for the County to take over administration of the SHIP program from West Florida Regional Planning Council the first of the year.

Flood Mitigation Planning Discussion

Sharon Marsh said the intention is to move forward with updating and revising the Flood Mitigation Plan. She said the State did not send the Flood Mitigation Planning application in to the Federal government. Marsh said the State is encouraging the County to resubmit the application. She said the application will probably be resubmitted after the first of the year. Marsh said she would like to start talking with communities to identify chronic flooding and to determine options available to fix the problem.

Update of Ivan and Dennis Hazard MitigationProjects &Grant Applications

Marsh said the County has been reimbursed for Phase I of the Harrison Avenue project. She said half of Phase I stormwater projects have been finished, and the County is now moving into Phase II stormwater projects. Combs said 11 of the 21 residential shutter projects under Hurricane Dennis are completed. Royals asked if there are guidelines for the minimum type of shutters that can be used. Marsh said FEMA requires shutters to be hurricane shutters. Royals asked if fabric shield shutters are an approved product. She said fabric shield shutters cost half the amount of metal shutters. Combs said there is no requirement as to the type of shutters being placed on a house as long as they are approved. Royals asked if the homeowner is being allowed to choose the type of shutters they want. Marsh said applicants are allowed to choose the type of shutters to an extent. She said funding limits usually have an effect on the shutters chosen. Combs said the fabric shield shutters are one type of approved shutters. There was discussion on fabric shield shutters being easier for elderly people to manage. Combs said most people are happy with the shutter options that are available.

Adams said Milton has two approved projects. She said Elva Street is currently being worked on. Adams said bids for the Police Department shutters have been received, and the project is moving forward. Adams said Milton did not get funding for the Locklin Lake project.

Szymanski, City of Gulf Breeze Assistant Manager, said Gulf Breeze had three projects, but two were turned down. He said FEMA broke down a $1.5 million stormwater project into two phases. Szymanski said he has signed a design contract but has not seen anything yet. He said he had to hire someone to help work through the process because he was not getting any help from the State. Szymanski said 85% of the 2005 projects in Gulf Breeze have been completed.

Marsh said there are still some areas that need flood mitigation, but Santa Rosa County has done very well in getting flooding problems fixed in the harder hit areas of the County. She said the County requested FEMA place the Holly by the Sea project on the Tier II level. Marsh said she is hoping placing this project on the Tier II level will enable the project to get up to 75% funding. She said the global match requests were denied so she is not sure where the 25% match will come from. Wendy Hoeflich, Holley by the Sea resident, asked if a timeline for the Holley by the Sea project is available. Marsh said no. She said she will keep all interested parties updated on this project. Hoeflich asked if any of the communities in the southend have qualified for Tier II funds and received those funds. Marsh said no. She said Tier II projects will not start until all Tier I projects have been approved. Marsh said the State is still working through the overwhelming number of Tier I applications from Hurricane Ivan. She said any Tier I funding that is not used will go toward Tier II projects. Szymanski said FEMA’s employee turnover rate makes the application and approval processes difficult, but the County does what is necessary because grant funds are needed.

Next Meeting Date/Adjournment

The next scheduled meeting of the LMS Committee will be February 13, 2008 at 1:00 p.m. at the Public Services conference room.

There being no further business to come before the committee at this time, the meeting adjourned at 1:38 p.m.