Preparing for costly disasters is one of the ways city and county officials try to protect taxpayers.
Meridian will rejoin a partnership with Lauderdale County to enter into an agreement on a hazard mitigation plan, which must be in place in order to receive grants and other funding both before and after disasters.
In a special called meeting on Tuesday, the Meridian City Council unanimously voted to enter an agreement with the County Board of Supervisors. Since the county board will meet Monday, the City Council wanted to have the agreement ready for the county to approve at its next meeting.
George Thomas, council president, said the city and county had a joint agreement years ago, but for some reason the city later established its own plan apart from the county. Now the city is going to partner with the county again on the Lauderdale County Mult-ijurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan.
"The funding goes primarily to the county, so in order for the city to obtain funding for mitigation, like drainage, to prevent problems, we need to be a part of the county's program," Thomas said. "It enables us to receive funds if we need to correct a flooding problem. If there's federal money available, now the city is eligible to receive that money. It allows us to be eligible for money that previously we were not eligible for."
According to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, hazard mitigation plans are necessary for cities and counties to prepare for problems such as:
• Retrofit of critical facilities
• Acquisition, elevation, relocation or drainage improvements of repetitive flood loss structures
• Construction or upgrade of general population shelters
• Enhancement of development codes and standards
• Safe rooms and storm shelters
• Generators for critical facilities
• Warning systems