Local communities throughout Wyoming County are being urged to participate with the Emergency Management Agency in the creation of a new Hazardous Mitigation Plan for the county.
EMA Director Gene Dziak explained to the Wyoming County Commissioners on Tuesday that the plan is updated every five years. The agency has a $60,000 grant to pay for the update, with the county providing matching funds, he said.
Dziak said he has been in contact with the county’s municipalities, urging them to participate with the county in creating the plan.
A meeting has been scheduled for Thursday at 6 p.m. at the EMA building for all municipalities interested in participating, Dziak said. He pointed out that - although municipalities can independently put together a Hazardous Mitigation plan for their own communities - it would be more cost effective and efficient if they worked with the county.
Communities that do not a Hazardous Mitigation plan in place are not eligible for federal money in the event a disaster occurs, Dziak said. Commissioner Tom Henry noted there have been times when certain communities have been “very upset” when hit they are hit by a disaster, only to learn they are ineligible for federal funds.
During the discussion, Henry and commissioners Judy Mead and Ron Williams voted to hire Vision Planning to coordinate the county’s efforts in creating the plan.
By participating with the county, Dziak said, municipalities will benefit in a number of ways - such as what applications need to be made, and how to properly fill out the necessary paperwork.
He also explained that communities can identify trouble spots - such as a road which constantly floods out during a bad storm - for incorporation into the plan .
Solicitor Paul Litwin asked if a community can still participate, even if a representative does not show up on Thursday. Dziak confirmed they can, explaining that no decisions will be made that night. However, Dziak urged all interested municipalities to contact him as soon as possible because things will be moving quickly once the process begins.
Litwin also asked if a municipality could be represented by its emergency management director. Dziak said yes, anyone - including council members and supervisors - are welcome to participate.
During the meeting, Williams, who has been away for several sessions, explained the reason for his absence was not cancer related. He said he returned from a medical examination several weeks ago, saying that he had tumors, but his doctor informed him they would cause him no trouble.
However, a day after receiving the report, Williams continued, he knee gave out on him while walking on the stairs, and he fell against the wall. In the process, he’d injured his back, and there was doubt he would be able to walk again. But eventually he regained the use of his legs.
Williams was using a walker when he entered the room, and said he’s also been using a cane to get around.
Henry reported that the next graduation of participants of the county’s Drug Treatment Court will be Thursday, July 19, at 5 p.m. at Triton Hose Company. The event is open to the public, anyone interested in attending the event should contact him by Monday through the commissioners’ office, Henry said, or Catherine Garbus at 570-836-6749.
Lori Bennett asked during the meeting about the situation at the roadside rest along Route 29 in Eaton Township. There have been complaints and concerns raised by people due to partying at the site.
Henry said the county finally has received confirmation that the roadside rest is owned by the state, and under its jurisdiction. Signs have been posted at the facility, providing information about what is prohibited at the site. The state police have been asked to maintain a regular presence in the area, Henry said, and will take appropriate action when necessary.