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MEEKER I Rio Blanco County Emergency Manager Ty Gates spoke to Meeker’s Board of Trustees about the adoption of the county’s multi-jurisdictional hazard mitigation plan, something he has been working on since 2017.
Having a current hazard mitigation plan in place is necessary in the event the town needed to apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency funds. The last time the plan was updated was in 2003, Gates said. The plans are only valid for a five-year period once updated.
“We were out of compliance, meaning if a natural disaster happened in the county we would not have been eligible for FEMA funding,” Gate said. He applied for a FEMA grant to hire a consultant in 2017.
The new plan has been adopted by the Town of Rangely, the Rangely Fire Department, Meeker Sanitation District, the Town of Meeker, and is on the agenda for the Rio Blanco Fire Protection District. The goal, Gates said, is to have “one big countywide master plan” with individualized profiles for specific entities.
“It’s an insurance program, pretty much. If we have a flooding incident it allows the town to be eligible for FEMA funding or grant mitigation projects.”
According to Town Manager Lisa Cook, the effects of the updated plan are already being felt. “BLM is trying to secure funding for a fireline from Ute Park, across China Wall, over to Sulphur Creek and around the water tanks in Sage Hills,” she told the board Tuesday. “It’s one of the things identified that came from this plan.”
Gates said while each town committed $1,000 toward the plan, with in-kind contributions he hopes it won’t cost either town any money.
The board also approved a memorandum of understanding with the county for an emergency operations plan (EOP). The Town of Meeker did not previously have an EOP in place.
Gates said the goal was to have both county hospitals, towns and the county operating under the same plan.
“We will tailor each plan accordingly” to fit each entity’s needs, Gates said, starting with the overall EOP. At this point, the Town of Rangely and Pioneers Medical Center are on board, and Rangely District Hospital is expected to adopt the plan as well.
The town is looking for individuals to serve on the Meeker Housing Authority Board. If no one steps up, the board of trustees will be the default housing authority board, overseeing the town’s Housing and Urban Development (HUD) properties.
Three people are required, five would be preferable. Interested individuals should call Town Hall at 878-5344.
By NIKI TURNER