SOMERSET — The town does not have a multi-hazard mitigation plan that spells out strategies that would be taken to reduce the loss of life and property resulting from natural disasters.
But such a plan is being developed and the town will be holding a meeting on July 24, starting at 6 p.m. at the Somerset Public Library, for anyone from the public who would like to give input on the plan. At that meeting, the planning framework for the town's multi-hazard mitigation plan will be introduced.
A local planning team that includes Town Administrator Richard Brown, Fire Chief Scott Jepson, who is also the director of the town's Emergency Management Agency, Police Chief George McNeil, Health Agent Timothy Turner, Building Inspector Paul Boucher and Highway Superintendent Brian Martin has been working on the plan.
Brown said they have put a fair amount of work into the plan, but they want input from the public in case they have missed anything in regards to mitigation for hazards or severe storms. He said people may have had experiences in the past with such events and could suggest improvements for the way they are dealt with by the town. He said they want to know the most valuable assets the town has for mitigation after hazards and natural disasters.
The town has retained GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. to assist the planning team in the preparation of the plan.
Brown has worked for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the past rebuilding communities after disasters.
"This is to put people like me out of business," Brown said of the multi-hazard mitigation plan.
The plan is being paid for with grant money from Federal Emergency Management Agency through the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
The town is required to have two public meetings for input on the multi-hazard mitigation plan. The meeting on July 24 will be the first of those meetings, so there will be another meeting scheduled in the future.
Brown said the plan is important as a planning tool and will also help to qualify the town for federal and state grant money in the future.
"We have to identify what the risk is," Brown said.