Murfreesboro adopts disaster plan

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 1, 2005

MURFREESBORO – The best way to deal with unforeseen natural disasters is to have a plan in place long before the storm pays its unwelcomed visit.

That’s the logic used here Tuesday by members of the Murfreesboro Town Council where they discussed and then adopted a Hazard Mitigation Plan.

According to Town Administrator Mollie Eubank, Murfreesboro’s strategy in this process was to join in on the current Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan put in place by Hertford County. Murfreesboro Town Council members adopted a resolution to join the towns of Ahoskie, Cofield and Como in planning for future disasters.

Hertford County has seen its share of weather-related disasters over recent years with hurricanes Floyd and Isabel as well as ice storms.

&uot;The county and the towns were aided by FEMA during those storms,&uot; said Eubank. &uot;However, FEMA now requires of local government agencies that it is in our best interest to identify potential problem areas, such as low-lying areas that are prone to flooding, and put a plan in place that will help prevent these areas from experiencing the same problems in the event of another major storm.&uot;

Eubank emphasized that a Hazard Mitigation Plan must in place before FEMA will dole out any future funds.

The town adopted the resolution, one that the State Legislature delegated to local government bodies to take the responsibility to act upon such resolutions that are designed to promote public health, safety and the general welfare of its citizenry. That legislative mandate was backed-up by the Federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, one requiring local government to develop and adopt an all-hazards mitigation plan in order to qualify for future Hazard Mitigation Grant program funds.

Eubank said now that the resolution has been adopted, it becomes her and Mayor Ben McLean’s responsibility to implement the goals, objectives and tasks of the plan. That responsibility also includes an annual review of each Hazard Mitigation Plan in order to ensure that it meets all state and federal regulations.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd, the state of North Carolina is demonstrating an unprecedented commitment to hazard mitigation. New groups in the public, private, non-profit, and research sectors are becoming directly involved in new projects and initiatives. Much of the research is tied to risk identification and promotion of methods designed to reduce a community’s susceptibility to natural hazards.

Natural hazards have left a profound imprint on the state. Virtually every county has experienced the effects of natural hazards in the past five years – from the ice storms and flash flooding in the western counties to the flooding, storm surge, coastal erosion and environmental pollution that have occurred in the rest of the state as a result of major hurricanes.

Disasters directly impact the quality of life of a community. In rural communities that are home to 70 percent of North Carolina’s population, disasters have had a tremendous destabilizing effect, disrupting the social and economic equilibrium of these communities.

North Carolina communities are recognizing that they can intervene to break the cycle of disaster damage – recovery – damage, and in the process assume responsibility for making their homes, businesses, and utilities more resistant to the forces of natural hazards.

In other business conducted by the Murfreesboro Town Council during Tuesday’s meeting:

Approved a special event application for a Martin Luther King Day parade and march as submitted by Chowan College. The parade permit is good from 10-11 a.m. on Jan. 17. The parade will start at Union Street, turn onto High Street and then onto the Chowan College campus.

Adopted new wording and information within a police department policy regarding use of force.

Approved a guaranteed life insurance policy for town employees.