LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Every five years, Angelina County leaders submit a county hazard mitigation plan.
This plan helps the county become eligible for fully funded grants to repair areas prone to flood damage.
The most recent plan was updated in 2019, so another update will not occur until 2024. Each year, the county has to review the plan to make sure they are on track.
“All four commissioners have been tasked with this project to determine the area in their precincts that need most of the work,” said Ricky Conner, Emergency Management Coordinator.
The projects are primarily focused on areas damaged by flooding.
“That could be bridges, that could be roadways, it could be culverts washing out,” said Conner. “Anything like that. Basically, that’s what hazard mitigation covers.”
It’s about a six to eight month process of analyzing what projects need to get done in the county.
“You’ve got to determine your projects, you’ve got to document your projects, you’ve got to send in stuff to TDEM and FEMA,” said Conner. “They’ve got to approve those projects first.”
While all precincts have bad areas, they can only get grants for so many projects.
“If there’s three or four bad places in precinct one, there’s ten in precinct two, and I’m just giving an estimate there,” said Conner. “We try to pick out the top two or three, realistically, to see if we can get grant money for those.”
Projects that get funded are one-hundred percent grant-funded. Therefore the county will not be paying out of pocket.
“If you do not have a plan, you are not eligible for grant funding. So it’s to everyone’s benefit,” Conner said. “And probably, I think about 145 counties or so counties in the state out of 254 have hazard mitigation plans, but some of them don’t, and some of them don’t have a need for it.”
The money for the grants comes from the Texas General Land Office.
They have over four million dollars to fund projects all over Texas to reduce the risks and impact of future natural disasters.