Committee named for long-term recovery and hazard mitigation

Published 8:23 am Wednesday, February 21, 2018

By Ginger Broomes

The Orange Leader

Five people were selected to serve on a committee for long-term recovery and hazard mitigation during a public workshop session was held at the Commissioners Court on Tuesday

Emergency Management Coordinator Ralph Valenciano said that based upon the damage received by Hurricane Harvey as well as preceding events with flooding prior to that event, he felt that it was appropriate to put into place the Hazard Mitigation Action Plan from 2016, a plan that is updated every two years, and bring back those projects for discussion. In an effort to do so, it was approved to form a Committee for Long Term Recovery and Hazard Mitigation, officially, and assign members.

A mitigation plan is a plan to prevent the type of flooding seen even before Harvey, in areas that repeatedly flood during heavy rains.

Since Harvey, funding has become available to communities with such a plan in place. The committee would look at problem areas, and apply for funding – whether it be retention ponds to hold rainwater, better drainage, or elevation issues. To fix said issues, the committee would apply for the grant to pay for it, which, if approved, would cover 75 percent of the costs, with the county matching 25 percent.

One of the main priorities as well is to keep communication open with other drainage districts to have a unified approach, making sure everyone is on the same page.

It was recommended and approved that the following people be assigned to the committee:

Ralph Valenciano, Emergency Management Coordinator

Joel Ardoin, Enviromental Health & Code Compliance Director

Clark Slacum, County Engineer

Barry Burton, Commissioner Pct. 2

John Gothia, Commissioner Pct. 3

Curt Guidry Maintenance Director

Judge Carlton will be involved as well, but will not be on the committee.

The committee has 12 months from the date of Harvey to submit a notice of intent to apply for funding. It was agreed that another meeting would be held in three weeks.