CHIPLEY - At Tuesday's regular meeting, Chipley City Council approved an agreement for public assistance funding to deal with costs associated with storm clean up.



The Federal Emergency Management Agency Public Assistance Funding pilot program is expected to cover more than $500,000 of associated costs.

FEMA will "approve our projects and fund our projects, like the ditch cleaning, like the debris hauling, all these signs and buildings damages," said City Administrator Dan Miner, noting insurance will also play a major role. "We're $400,000 out now, and that's where we are at today, roughly. (By the) time the projects are over ... we'll be well over half a million dollars."

The program appears to offer more relaxed rules on how the federal money can be spent. There are no requirements to rebuild on the scale prior to the disaster, funds can be shared across all projects, tracking costs to specific work items are no required, and excess funds may be used to reduce future risks.

If the city is approved, the funds will come in form of reimbursement.

In terms of debris hauling, the city does offer a free monthly services for piles the size of five-feet high and five-feet wide. The service is offered at a fee for larger piles. With April 15 being the final day for state-run hauling, the way forward for hauling remains unclear. However, it is unlikely the county nor city will contract to offer private hauling, Miner said.

"We're really looking in good shape, as far as vegetative debris," he added, noting he had personally assessed the city's development.

Also at the meeting, the council was given an engineering update on the spray field property by a representative from Mott McDonald.  According to the representative, everything appeared to follow the timeline, with ground breaking anticipated for as early as January next year. The council also passed a motion to seek out a request for inclusion in the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program, which Miner said the city is pursuing up to $4 million in funding.

In other business, Ordinance No. 957 on noise and nuisance was approved after it passed the public hearing.