38 Westmoreland municipalities to qualify for fed disaster funding
Just 38 of Westmoreland County’s 65 municipalities will qualify initially for federal disaster funding through participation in a hazard mitigation plan that will be publicized later this week.
Westmoreland County Public Safety officials have finalized a new five-year plan to prioritize projects that would be in line for funding should disaster strike.
“If a municipality has not participated in the plan, none of the money is available to them,” said Chris Tantlinger, the county’s hazard mitigation coordinator.
The county’s final version of the plan will be displayed to the public on Sept. 10. It will then be sent to the state and federal government for approval before it is ratified by county commissioners in November, Tantlinger said.
The plan, culled from reports generated by the 38 participating municipalities, includes 50 potential hazard mitigation projects and lists 19 high-priority projects.
The priority projects include storm water pipe replacements in Mt. Pleasant Borough; emergency communication upgrades in Sewickley Township; and implementation and development of a mitigation plan to correct flooding in Fairfield Township, Tantlinger said.
Municipalities that did not submit projects for the plan still can qualify for disaster relief by ratifying the overall plan, Tantlinger said.
“Their projects just won’t be a priority,” Tantlinger said.
Overall, the plan includes data detailing how municipalities would be affected by potential disasters such as flooding, fires, blizzards, tornadoes, landslides, dam failures, earthquakes and other scenarios that could cause injury or loss of life and property.
Just 29 municipalities enrolled in the initial plan when it was finalized in 2009.
Westmoreland municipalities applied for about $8 million in disaster relief during the last five years. The county received only $58,000 to purchase two generators to assist during power outages in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
“We want to do the most with the money we get,” Tantlinger said.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or email@example.com.