CHIPLEY — In one of his last acts as Public Safety Director, Roger Hagan presented the Wahsington County Board of County Commissioners on Dec. 18 with the details of the contract proposals for debris removal following a major emergency.
The county adopted the Washington County Debris Management Plan in March. When removing debris following a major storm or other catastrophe, FEMA offers a 10 percent bonus refund if pre-approved contractors are used for debris removal, Hagan explained to the board.
In an attempt to get the county eligible to receive the extra FEMA funds, Hagan presented the board with a request to publish requests for proposals from contractors so the county can have the paperwork done ahead of time in case of a disaster.
“FEMA offers these financial incentives to establish the contracts pre-event,” Chairman Alan Bush said. “If we can establish this up front it is better than trying to put contracts together in the time of crisis.”
Bush said the county officials want to make sure they use the correct units of measure in the contracts so there will be on problems with FEMA in the future.
The contractors have to be certified by FEMA, Hagan said, and he asked to board to approve advertising for contract proposals.
Hagan noted that the 10 percent extra FEMA funds are not guaranteed, but to qualify for the extra reimbursement the pre-event contracts have to be established.
“The likelihood of us ever needing this is slim,” Hagan said, “but this is something you do in preparing for your Opal, your Katrina, or your Sandy. This comes into play when things are so bad, your county employees can’t even get out to start clearing roads. This is for when your courthouse, your county offices are gone.”
Commissioner Charles Brock asked, “Just because we declare an emergency, that doesn’t mean the contractor automatically gets it? In general, debris is your main concern following an event.”
Hagan said the contractors would not automatically be called out, it would be up to the county to call out the contractors. “The first priority for roads being cleared falls on the Department of Transportation,” Hagan said. “Then the county works on debris on dirt roads and in public areas.”
“Where this comes into play is when the event is so significant, we couldn’t even begin to do it all by ourselves,” Bush added.
Commissioner Todd Abbott commended Hagan for his work on the disaster plan.