Borough gets grant to develop plan for disasters

Posted: Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Severe storms, floods, wildfires, eruptions and earthquakes are all part of life in Southcentral Alaska, but the Kenai Peninsula Borough currently lacks a comprehensive plan for easing the impact of such disasters.

With the help of a $20,000 state grant, the borough will launch a project to produce an All-Hazard Mitigation Plan meant to reduce community vulnerability to disaster losses.

The grant is written into Ordinance 2003-19-15, set for introduction at tonight's assembly meeting. Borough officials have asked for a Sept. 16 public hearing date.

The money will come from the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Office of Home-land Security and Emergency Services, which set aside funds for pre-disaster planning. The borough's Office of Emergency Management applied for the grant and will use the money to draft a local all-hazard plan.

Local governments are under the gun to produce such plans. Those failing to do so risk losing eligibility to compete for funding through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Pro-gram, according to David Gibbs, the borough's emergency management coordinator.

In a memo to the assembly, Gibbs said the borough must submit a draft plan to the state by Sept. 30 and a final draft by Nov. 30.

"The proposed all-hazard plan would include and update the 1996 Flood Mitigation Plan," Gibbs said.

Mitigation strategies written into an all-hazard plan might include such things as limiting development within the floodway and reducing fuel to limit the effect of wild land fire, Gibbs said.

Also tonight, the borough assembly is expected to introduce a pair of ordinances that would accept and appropriate a total of $75,091 in grants from Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development to be used in the borough's Coastal Manage-ment Program.

Almost $33,000 will pay for staffing, $3,200 will initiate an update of the Coastal Zone Management Plan, and $39,000 will cover administration and implementation costs of the coastal management program. Ordinances 2003-19-14 and -16 will get public hearings Oct. 14.

Also to be introduced tonight is Ordinance 2003-19-17, which would appropriate $10.5 million in South Peninsula Hospital Service Area general obligation bond proceeds and $6.5 million in net revenues generated through hospital operations for the hospital capital improvement project.

The bonds are to be sold through the Alaska Municipal Bond Bank in mid-September. The sale results would be reported on Oct. 14, the day the assembly would hold a public hearing on the ordinance.

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