By ASHLEY HELMS
The Town of Mamaroneck will soon have an index to deal with virtually every possible catastrophic incident, including floods and toxic spills, while paving the way for securing future federal grant money at the same time.
According to Town Administrator Steve Altieri, an all-hazard mitigation plan is being developed by ETG Incorporated for $40,000, who the town will pay with a federal grant. The plan will outline not just natural disasters, but also potential chemical threats as well.
“It could be a chemical truck that overturns on the [Boston] Post Road or something on Metro North that creates emergency response. It’s really any type of major disaster,” Altieri said.
Currently in its development stage, the all-hazard mitigation plan is expected to be finished and implemented by March. The Hazard Mitigation Committee, a group made up of town residents, business owners and municipal board members, is helping the Town Council with the plan’s development.
Before the plan is adopted, public hearings will be scheduled by the Town Council in order to give residents a chance to voice their opinions on it. The all-hazard mitigation plan was set into motion about five months ago, Altieri said.
Municipalities are starting to implement similar emergency plans so they’ll be eligible for federal grant money if a destructive event occurs. This was the catalyst for drafting a plan, the town administrator said.
“It was sort of a carrot on a stick,” he said.
When making a decision of whether or not to provide grant money to a governing body, FEMA is beginning to investigate what kind of disaster management plans it has in place, if any.
Town Councilman Ernie Odierna, a Democrat, said that FEMA is filtering out municipalities that shouldn’t be awarded grant money based on how serious they appear to be about protecting the community. For example, this could involve addressing a building in a flood zone that contains dangerous chemicals.
“They’re looking to see that you thought about it and are focusing on different hazards,” Odierna said.
ETG, which stands for Environmental Technology Group, is a Long Island-based company prividing consultation, environmental and engineering services to businesses and governments.
ETG is the same company that Mount Kisco hired to develop its all-hazard mitigation plan, Altieri said, so they have experience within the county.
Instead of providing strategies for handling a crisis in real time, like the town’s emergency management plan, a mitigation plan is intended to pave the way for more readily handling disasters in the future and outlining how they could possibly be avoided by taking the environment into account.
“[The all-hazard mitigation plan] is proactive as opposed to the emergency management plan,” Altieri said.
Town Supervisor Nancy Seligson, a Democrat, said even without an all-hazard mitigation plan, FEMA will provide funding for recovery efforts after an event occurs, but not for mitigation efforts.
“It’s about resiliency and sustainability,” she said.
Surrounding municipalities either have an all-hazard mitigation plan already in place, or one is expected to be implemented in the next couple of years.
The Village of Mamaroneck passed an all-hazard mitigation plan in May 2012. According to village officials, Scarsdale and Rye City also have similar plans in place.
Larchmont implemented its own all-hazard mitigation plan this August.