BY JOSH PRESLEY
The Clay County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing for the proposed hazard mitigation plan at 6 p.m. on May 22 during its next meeting.
West Point Fire Chief Johnny Littlefield said the county has to renew its hazard mitigation plan every five years to be eligible for the Federal Emergency Management Agency Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).
HMGP provides grants to state and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration, according to fema.gov. The purpose of the HMGP is to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during immediate recovery from a disaster.
“Back five years ago we hadn’t had any terrible incidents,” Littlefield said. “But with things like the tornado in Smithville in 2011 and the tornadoes last week, we see possible disasters getting closer to home, and this plan is something we have to have.”
He said that, aside from being required for grant money, the plan is necessary to make preparations for any possible disasters before they happen.
District 2 Supervisor Luke Lummus said that although Clay County was fortunate to escape unscathed in the storms from two weeks ago, it may not be as lucky next time.
“The money goes to the places with the damage,” Lummus said. “We’ve got to have this plan in place so we can receive FEMA or Mississippi Emergency Management Agency money if we have any damage in the future.”
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