By Lee Weyhrich
The Clay City Council last week put in place a new disaster recovery ordinance to help allocate resources after a disaster.
“This was recommended at a recent FEMA conference,” City Manager Ronnie Dixon said. “The new plan is in accordance with newer state standards.”
In case of a disaster, the ordinance states, the mayor will be the official public information officer, and the city manager will be the emergency operations manager. Either official is authorized to spend up to $50,000 for “emergency equipment, supplies, or personnel without a vote from the council,” the ordinance states.
“From being here during the last disaster, that’s a good ordinance to have,” Councilwoman Becky Johnson said.
During the last disaster, the Jan. 23, 2012 tornado, a special meeting had to be called in order to allocate funds, slowing recovery efforts, Mayor Charles Webster said.
In light of the past year’s school shootings around the country and recent storms, the mayor hopes to have a disaster preparedness program for schools and public buildings in place within the next month as well. This would allow institutions to be proactive rather than reactive.
The mayor and the Committee on Public Safety plan to meet with Alabama Emergency Management Agency regarding further safety issues.
Councilman Mark Halstead, liaison to the Community Development and Annexations committees, said his top priority for city growth is protecting Clay’s “back door.” It’s necessary to move up Brewster Road toward Grayson Valley, and to move toward the Millington neighborhood, he said.
Halstead said these areas already have necessary infrastructure, and expanding in these directions would further insulate the city center from encroachment by “another municipality.”