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City of Hamilton adopts Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan

By Michael Howell

 

The City of Hamilton is the second municipality in the valley to sign on to the newly updated Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan for Ravalli County & Municipalities. Eric Hoover, County Director of Emergency Management, explained at the September 5 meeting that having such a plan is a pre-requisite to receiving certain federal funds designated for “emergencies.” The county has used such funds in the past for some flooding instances and when the Kootenai Creek bridge washed out. The plan is updated through FEMA every five years and this is the third time it’s been updated. The County Commissioners and the Town of Stevensville already adopted the update.

 

The plan update itself cost $26,000 but is paid for through federal funding on a 75% to 25% cost share. In this case the County has covered the $6,500 in matching costs. It involved a hazard assessment and analysis and resulted in a series of mitigation strategies that include

 

• Reducing wildland fire risks within the urban interface
• Reducing exposure to flooding
• Reducing impacts from severe weather and drought
• Reducing impacts from hazardous materials and transportation accidents
• Reducing impacts from communicable diseases
• Reducing impacts from large structure fires
• Reducing impacts from earthquakes
• Reducing impacts from dam failure
• Reducing all other hazards in general

 

Asked about the county’s preparedness for a power outage, Hoover said that in the event of a major power outage the county does have a “limited amount” of gasoline at the county road facility. It also has a few small electrical generators, “but nothing to replace a power grid” if power was out for a long time, like a couple of weeks.

 

He said the county’s gasoline supply would not keep a fleet of vehicles going for very long and the back-up generators serving the county courthouse, the detention center and 911 Center would need replenishing at some point as well. Hoover said if the City was in need of emergency generators, for example, that was the sort of thing that might be eligible for this kind of federal funding.

 

The Council voted to adopt the plan.

 

The Council also approved a professional services agreement with the WGM Group for an amount not to exceed $58,803 for design and construction administration of the 3rd Street water main replacement project from Ravalli to State Street.

 

The Council also heard from a woman asking for the creation of a city ordinance that would prohibit archery shooting in the city limits. She told the Council that she has found her neighbor’s archery practice disturbing. She said just the sound of it hitting the target is disturbing when she is in the yard. But when she found an arrow lodged in her screen door she called the police.

 

What she discovered was that archery practice was not prohibited in the city limits but BB guns are. During his investigation the officer found another arrow in her yard. She was told that her only remedy lay with the state and the law prohibiting “endangerment.” She pressed charges and the neighbor pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and agreed to stop shooting arrows. Sentencing is scheduled in two weeks and could result in a fine of not more than $2,000 and up to a year in jail.

 

“This was a high powered bow with razor sharp blades on the arrow,” the woman said. “This was not like archery 101.” Although her neighbor pleaded to a misdemeanor, she said she was told that if she had been there and the arrow had flown near her it would have been a felony.

 

She said that she did not want the man to go to jail or pay anything, just to stop. Although she achieved that, she said, she does not want anyone else to have to go through it and thinks a city ordinance prohibiting it is in order.

 

The issue has been sent to the Committee of the Whole for consideration.

 

At its September 19 meeting, the Council approved an audit contract with Terry James Burke, CPA covering the period of July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 in the amount of $13,440.

 

It also authorized the Mayor to negotiate a contract with Bechtle Architects for design and construction services for the Justice Center Facility, a re-model of the Armory building. The entire project is projected to cost about $1.5 million.

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