By DAVID GREEN
Morenci city council members are seeking additional information before making a decision on whether or not to sign onto the Lenawee County Hazard Mitigation Plan.
An employee of the Region 2 Planning Commission is working with government units in Lenawee, Hillsdale and Jackson counties to reduce potential hazards.
A survey last fall sought information on the leading hazards in each community and township to identify hazards with the greatest potential of causing a negative impact on residents and property.
A letter from Region 2 points out that implementation of the plan is voluntary. Agreeing to participate in the plan still does not obligate a community to put the plan into action. Participation does enable a community to be eligible for funding for specific projects through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant program.
General strategies of the Region 2 plan include:
• enhanced public information and education to create a more informed public;
• the incorporation of hazard mitigation planning in community master planning, assuring a review every five years when communities review and update their master plan;
• planning for debris clearing management, and establishing staging areas for debris and snow;
• promoting mutual aid agreements to avoid duplicating services.
Specific mitigation strategies were developed for each of the 13 potential hazards identified for Lenawee County, including extreme temperatures, winter and summer storms, flooding, drought and hazardous materials incidents.
Burying electric and telephone lines is recommended to address hazards such as ice storms and lightning. Fighting potential losses from hail include the use of window shutters, laminated glass and hail-resistant shingles.
To prepare for wind storms, the “use of appropriate wind engineering measures and construction techniques” is suggested, along with anchoring manufactured homes and exterior structures. Construction of concrete safe rooms is recommended in homes, and shelter areas are recommended at mobile home parks, fairgrounds, shopping malls, etc.
Each strategy was analyzed to determine cost, benefit and implementation potential. Top priorities are:
• installing smoke detectors;
• identifying flood plains;
• developing local ordinances regarding hazardous materials;
• making an inventory of hazardous materials.
Medium priority is listed for:
• identifying shelters for snowstorms;
• increasing public awareness of Miss DIG;
• installing lightning protection devices;
• enforcing local building codes to prevent structural fires;
• identifying structures in flood plains;
• promoting the importance of wetlands as natural retention basins;
• developing water rationing plans;
• training for hazardous material handling.
Morenci mayor Keith Pennington mentioned several questions he has about the program, such as learning if the program would require standards in excess of the city’s existing regulations for building codes, for example.
PARKING—Morenci’s parking lot renovation project is expected to begin in mid-July. Mayor Pennington said that demolition of the Dunbar building will likely be complete by then and the city will consider tackling the entire project—on the south side of the business district and also north of Johnson’s Hardware—at one time to save some money. Due to a delay in the Dunbar demolition, the city’s engineering firm expected the project might have to be done in two segments.
Pennington was told the project should be completed within eight weeks.
COMPUTERS—Council voted to accept a one-year contract for computer maintenance service with IT Services at a cost of $2,000. In addition, the firm will provide off-site data storage for $500. The contract covers all the city’s computers with the exception of the library. The library could be included in the contract for an additional $1,000 per year.
CONTRACTS—Approval of employment agreements with department heads was tabled due to a question with one of the contracts.