Public’s input sought for hurricane recovery plan

Published 5:50 pm Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Local and state emergency-management officials are seeking public input for a plan to help improve recovery efforts after a hurricane.

That input may be provided at 6 p.m. Thursday at the commissioners meeting room at the Beaufort County administrative offices, 121 W. Third St., Washington. The North Carolina General Assembly wants a plan from each of the state’s 49 counties (those declared disaster areas after Hurricane Matthew) as to how they and the state as a whole will use resilient redevelopment planning as part of their overall recovery from Hurricane Matthew, said John Pack, the county’s emergency-management director. “Resiliency is the cornerstone of Recovery operations. Let’s fix things more robust or more capable of withstanding the Hurricanes that will come in the future while we are recovering from the immediate past Hurricane,” Pack wrote in an email.

Prior to the public meeting, the committee overseeing development of the county’s plan will meet, Pack said Tuesday. That committee includes personnel familiar with storm-recovery efforts and hazard mitigation, he noted.

Having such a plan makes the county eligible for current and future grants from state and federal agencies, according to Pack. “We can also use the plan to apply for grants from non-profit organizations that are looking for organized plans they can provide grants too,” Pack wrote in the email.

“What we’re looking for is if people out there have ideas on how to do something better, if we can get the grant money. There’s things we’re going to put out. There are things the contractor assigned to us to help develop this plan is going to put out. It’s going to try to stimulate the people present,” Pack said Tuesday. “What we’re looking for are the things that give us resiliency.”

The General Assembly established the North Carolina Resilient Redevelopment Planning program to develop strategies for community rebuilding and revitalization assistance for the communities affected by Hurricane Matthew. The planning process in Beaufort County includes at least three meetings, according to a state document. The first meeting would focus on validation and/or discovery of data pertaining to damage and effects. The second meeting would focus on construction, review and feedback on initial drafts of resilient redevelopment strategies. The third meeting would focus on refinement, feedback and finalization of those draft strategies.

“Basically, they want it open to the general public to come in and make suggestions on better ways to fix things, better ways to do things, to communicate,” Pack said.

After the counties begin developing their plans, there will come a time when cities and towns will develop plans, Pack said.

“The key to success of these plans is your investment of time and expertise. The plans must accurately reflect the storm’s impact to your community and your ideas for resilient housing, infrastructure, ecosystem and economic development,” wrote Gov. Roy Cooper in a letter to county managers, municipal managers and other key stakeholders in the 49 counties.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

email author More by Mike