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Sumter hazard plan in the works

The Sumter County Commission held a public meeting on Thursday in which only one citizen showed up to discuss the new Hazard Mitigation Plan that Executive Director of the Alabama Tombigbee Regional Commission John Clyde Riggs is working to put in place.

Riggs told the commission during their last meeting on March 8 that Sumter County is one of six counties in Alabama that hasn’t started working on its Hazard Mitigation Plan for FEMA. He said that if the commission doesn’t start soon it wouldn’t be eligible for federal funds in case of a natural disaster.

Riggs told the commission that his office has been able to locate some funds to help the county catch up with the rest of Alabama.

“The fee to put one of these plans together is $12,000 and the county’s share would only be 20 percent or $2,400,” Riggs said.

He asked the commission for $1,200 so he could start working on a planning grant for the plan. He also told the commission that the plans must be ready by Nov. 4 in order to receive the funds.

“But the commission can apply for an extension as long as the state sees some progress in the plan,” Riggs said.

Riggs said the plan encompasses his office getting records of previous natural disasters such as flooding, tornado alleys and earthquake faults. After the plan is finished, the state must review it for accuracy and then approve it.

“Our office is currently working on five plans at this time, so it will be hard to reach that Nov. 4 deadline, but I’m sure we will make it,” Riggs said.