FEMA seeking applicants

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 12, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

March 1 was a scary day. Tornadoes touched down all over the south. Unfortunately, residents of Five Points and Orrville know of this first hand.

Jim Sarkisian, FEMA Community Relations, addressed the Dallas County Commission on Monday, stating FEMA representatives are in the area and have been going around to area churches in efforts “to encourage people to come register” for assistance.

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“We have a team of three going to the affected area meeting and documenting the victims of the event and encouraging them to register,” Sarkisian said. “There may be friends or relatives that may have been affected, they just don’t know we’re here.”

Those sustaining damage from the March 1 tornado can call 1-800-621-3362.

EMA Director Pam Cook reported the FEMA disaster recovery center has been set up in Orrville since last Thursday and over 30 applicants have been assisted.

“They can get grant money and they don’t have to pay it back,” Cook said. “They can apply for a small business administration loan that they do have to pay back, but they have to qualify for that.”

Home inspections are already underway, according to Cook.

“It’s moving along real good,” Cook said. “I don’t know when they’ll (FEMA) be moving out. I heard through the week, but that could change.”

Kim Ballard, commission chairman, and the county commissioners commended county workers for their clean-up efforts.

“The county crews did a tremendous job last week in taking care of the problems we had down there,” Ballard said. “We were fortunate to get declared for individual assistance and it would not have happened without some of y’all folks sitting in this room right here.”

Commissioners Curtis Williams and Clifford Hunter reported going to the affected areas and also thanked county workers for doing an exemplary job.

“It was a pretty violent storm and the county crew went to work and got things taken care of and I’m most appreciative,” Williams said.

“I want to say thank you for your sincere effort in reaching out to the people of that community,” Hunter said. “That is the time when we come together as one and I think you all exemplified that.”

In a different matter, Ballard presented the commissioners with a sample County Litter Ordinance.

“I’m getting a lot of heat from the community to do something about the litter problem,” Ballard said.

Ballard stated he thought an ordinance is a step in the right direction and encouraged the commissioners to take the sample ordinance and “read this thing and take it apart.”

Commissioner Roy Moore stated he is still working on the high cost of operation for the Orrville and Highway 41 transfer stations.

“I’m still putting some numbers together,” Moore said. “Hopefully we’ll have some type meeting here pretty soon.”

Ballard gave an update on the upcoming Youth Detention Center, reporting a pre-construction bid conference was held at the Dallas County Jail last Thursday. Ballard said he was pleased that “all of the local contractors did show up.”

“All of them have shown an interest in building the Juvenile Detention Center, which is good,” he said.

Ballard said the bid opening will be March 20 at 2 p.m. in the Commission Courtroom located in the Courthouse Annex.

Cook reported that she and Rhonda Abbott, Commission clerk, had taken and passed their last two National Incident Management System (NIMS) classes – ICS 300 and ICS 400 – as mandated by state government.

“We had until October, but we got that out of the way,” Cook said.

Ballard stated that the

county does not receive certain grants unless the EMA possesses proper certifications.

Dick Bean thanked the

commission “on behalf of 911” for their part in keeping the communications tower operable. Bean reported the bridging equipment that allows emergency personnel to communicate with each other is in.

In other business:

A request to have a state-sentenced prisoner serve his five-year term in the county was voted down 3-2.

Budget amendments for February were approved.

Invoices for the CDBG Wagon Wheel and Road Paving projects were approved.

A public complaint concerning a 25-foot property easement was referred to the city attorney.

Cook reminded the Commission about preparing a Pandemic plan for the courthouse.

A diesel fuel bid from Jones Oil for 2.05 cents per gallon was approved.

County Engineer George E. Jones was granted permission to apply for a High Risk Rural Roads Program grant. “It’s a dangerous county-wide project,” Ballard said of county roads that need re-striping.

A request to declare some inoperable county equipment surplus was approved.

A heavy equipment purchase and lease was deferred to explore other options.

A $220.91 claim against the county was deferred until the next meeting. A citizen claims a rock broke his windshield as a dumptruck passed him on Highway 41.

A physical disability discrimination claim against Jim Minor Garden Homes was resolved. The court determined there was no discrimination.