SYCAMORE – DeKalb County Board members unanimously approved a plan to fund initiatives that protect against disasters.
The countywide plan allows the county and local municipalities to be eligible for federal grant funding for hazard mitigation projects, including programs or facilities used for potential disasters. County Board members signed off on the plan Wednesday, and other local governments need to adopt it by the end of the year.
The county is required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to update the plan every five years to reflect disasters that occurred and to ensure its goals are being met, said Paul Miller, DeKalb County planning, zoning and building director.
“It’s important for the county and for the municipalities to have a plan which not only identifies the potential natural and man-made disasters, but identifies the facilities and programs to try to lessen the impact of those disasters,” Miller said.
The plan has been useful for recent disasters in the county. If county leaders had not originally adopted the plan in 2008, they would not have been eligible for the $5.6 million in grant funding to address flooding in Evergreen Village Mobile Home Park near Sycamore. The park sits in a floodplain, so county leaders are working to relocate residents belonging to about 130 mobile homes, demolish park infrastructure and return the area to open space.
Julia Fauci, D-District 9 and member of the county planning and zoning committee, said County Board approving the all-hazard mitigation plan is an important and positive move for the county.
This plan allows the county to fund initiatives that reduce the impact of epidemics, floods, storms and other hazards. The plan also includes disasters caused by people such as utility disruptions and accidental release of hazardous materials.
Fauci said some people might not feel disasters such as the flooding of Evergreen Village Mobile Home Park are their problem.
“Well, it is,” she said. “Every time that place floods, it dramatically affects all the services we provide.”
Last year, the DeKalb County All Hazard Mitigation Committee, local government representatives, Northern Illinois University and Kishwaukee College met several times to update the plan. Miller said it’s important to update the hazard mitigation plan regularly because conditions change over time.