Parish begins mitigation plan

Published 12:08 am Friday, June 3, 2011

VIDALIA — With the Mississippi River level falling and taking the threat of a major disaster with it, parish officials are now wondering how much federal reimbursement they will receive to cover the costs of flood proofing the parish.

In order to receive that reimbursement, Concordia Parish has to have a hazard mitigation plan, and in the midst of the flood frenzy, the Concordia Parish Police Jury had a special meeting Tuesday to approve the parish’s new plan.

The plan has to be upgraded every five years, and with the parish’s old plan expiring Wednesday, the jury approved the new plan in just enough time to stay in compliance with the Federal Emergency Management Association.

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“We have to have this plan to be able to receive some emergency funds,” police jury President Melvin Ferrington said. “Without this plan in place, we would not be able to get anything done.”

Ferrington said FEMA requires local governments to have a plan in order to receive certain types of non-emergency disaster assistance.

A mitigation plan is a guideline system for risk-based decision making that is meant to help reduce damages to the area’s people, property and infrastructure, Ferrington said.

“This is something we always need to have available,” he said.

Ferrington said the new plan is an updated version of the old one, and that the jury hired a company from Baton Rouge to upgrade it.

“They got the plan at about this time last year,” he said. “It took them a little longer to come up with it than we had hoped, but it was done in time.”

Ferrington said the jury hired the company with money they received from a $50,000 federal grant last year.

With the plan in the books, Ferrington said the parish is in good shape for the next five years.