Licking County News

Pataskala City Council

Emergency plan for federal funding back on Aug. 11 agenda


Pataskala City Council is expected in an Aug. 11 special meeting to reconsider adopting a countywide natural-hazards mitigation plan, which would allow residents to apply for state and federal funding for certain projects.

City Council unanimously tabled a motion Aug. 4 to approve the plan written by the Licking County Emergency Management Agency after receiving the lengthy document earlier that day.

Mayor Mike Compton said City Council was expected to consider the plan in February but the city was working with an interim administrator and the legislation was missed.

Kevin Carver, interim director of the Licking County Emergency Management Agency, said there has been one application by a Pataskala resident to receive a rebate after installing a "windstorm safe room."

Carver could not give the amount of money nor the resident's name, but, he said, the application would be denied if the city has not adopted the natural hazards mitigation plan by Aug. 14.

Carver said the funds are available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the unified hazards-mitigation program.

The program provides money for "projects that will reduce or eliminate the losses from future disasters. Projects must provide a long-term solution to a problem, for example, elevation of a home to reduce the risk of flood damages as opposed to buying sandbags and pumps to fight the flood," according to the FEMA website.

Individuals must apply through their local governments, according to the website.

Several members of City Council said they had read the plan.

Councilman Tim Hickin said even though he read it, emergency management plans can be "long and complicated."

Councilman Mike Fox said he had not had the chance to review it and asked if it requires the city to relinquish any rights.

Fox also asked if the city's law director, Rufus Hurst, had reviewed it.

Hurst said he reviewed the plan in 2002 but has not reviewed the update completed this year.

Council members talked about the possibility of adopting the plan and then considered an amendment by City Council President Dan Hayes to adopt the plan and include language preventing it from usurping the city charter or the city's right to home rule.

The amendment was approved, with Hayes, Hickin, Melissa Gibson and Bryan Lenzo voting in favor and Fox and Todd Barstow voting against it.

City Council then decided to table the plan, pending further review.

City Council's special meeting to consider the plan is scheduled at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 11, at Pataskala City Hall, 621 W. Broad St.