After the update and approval of a new hazard mitigation plan (HMP), jurisdictions can be left with questions about what to do next. You might be wondering how to make the projects identified in the plan a reality. Luckily, some of the most crucial steps are already done: researching and identifying the hazards that pose the greatest threat to your community and laying out potential projects to mitigate these hazards.
Here are the next steps:
1. Prioritize Projects for Implementation
At this point, it’s important to work with your administration and local staff members to prioritize projects you want to implement. Out of the hazards of greatest concern identified in your HMP, which need solutions most immediately?
2. Explore Funding Options
Once you’ve reached consensus on the projects to pursue first, you can explore funding options.
When you begin looking for funding sources, start with local options. Local funding sources can exist through the general fund, city department budget, taxes, levies, bonds, or private sponsors. Remember as well that your approved HMP automatically makes you eligible for three FEMA grant programs: the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program, Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, and Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant Program. These cost-share grant programs are useful, but they alone might not always be the best fit for your particular project. If a FEMA-funded grant is the best option, you’ll need to conduct a Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA). BCAs are FEMA’s way of ensuring that the benefits and potential savings of a project outweigh the costs of implementing the project. Essentially, FEMA looks at a BCA to see that each dollar put into the project will be matched or exceeded by dollars saved down the line. Conducting a BCA may require some preliminary engineering or architecture.
Don’t forget that your HMP includes additional funding options in its appendix.
3. Ensure Your Projects Fit State and Regional Priorities
Another resource to support you during the implementation process is your state’s emergency management agency. They can ensure your project meets the state’s priorities and that your paperwork is in order to successfully fund your project. Contacting your county emergency management agency is a smart move, too, as some projects can be implemented through the county based on the project’s broad impacts.
4. Identify Local Opportunities to Integrate Projects
Once you’ve completed these steps, identify local resources and opportunities in which to integrate these projects. Your local Capital Improvement Plan, Comprehensive Plan, and local budget are great places to start. Additionally, your community’s local plans and resources are discussed in the Integration section of your HMP.
5. Implement the Projects
With projects selected and funding secured, start implementing the projects. Thanks to your efforts in developing and adopting a Hazard Mitigation Plan, you’re already building a more resilient community. And remember, at any point in plan implementation you can reach out to us. Contact Becky Appleford, Phil Luebbert, or Brooke Welsh with any questions.