In his newly-appointed role, Mineral Wells Fire Chief Ryan Dunn went over the Hazard Mitigation Plan of Palo Pinto County, which is reevaluated every five years.
“The hazard mitigation plan was initially adopted in 2015, we started working on it in 2016, so it’s a consecutive thing that we keep doing over and over,” Dunn said at Tuesday’s city council meeting. “So basically you take all of the natural disasters that can impact this city and this county, and we take into consideration what we can do to prevent them, what we can do to aid them to leave us in better shape — for example, floodwater and a drainage system eliminates that threat. There’s some things you can’t control, a tornado you can’t control.”
Dunn said some changes need to be made to the 223-page document after council approval.
“It says that Mineral Wells had no impacts from any natural disaster event since 2015, which we all know is false because a tornado hit our downtown area,” he said.
On May 19, 2015, a tornado tore through downtown Mineral Wells downing trees and power lines and ripping roofs off downtown buildings.
Dunn said the document also has demographical mistakes that will be addressed.
Mineral Wells City Manager Randy Criswell said it’s important to note that in the hazard mitigation plan, anything that could be a potential hazard is discussed — even if it’s a one in a million chance. As a result, a list is formed that begins with the most likely disasters to occur — with the most potential damage that could be caused — and develop around it.
“The beauty of this plan and the partnership with the county is we don’t have to have two of the same thing,” Mineral Wells City Manager Randy Criswell said. “We are inside the county, the [North Central Texas Council of Governments] does provide great assistance and in our area, we the city, and we Palo Pinto County, would have almost the same list of potential hazards that we would define in the plan.”
Criswell said it’s an important tool for the city and county.
“The reason this is such a valuable tool is because as dollars become available through FEMA or federal grants for mitigating hazards if it’s not defined in your hazard mitigation plan there’s not going to be any grant money for it,” he said. “It’s a lot of work, we should be very grateful we have a COG that helps us because this is not a small undertaking.”
As an example, Dunn said if the plan is not approved, the city cannot collect funding related to the February winter storm.
Ward 4 Councilman Doyle Light thanked Dunn for his hard work and said another important disaster to consider is drought.
“[The hazard mitigation plan] encompasses anything that you would imagine that could happen to Mineral Wells and if it were to occur, how catastrophic it would be,” he said. “We’ve had drought issues and drought can be catastrophic not only because of what it is, but the impact it has on our community when we don’t have water.”
The council unanimously approved adopting a resolution to approve the Hazard Mitigation Plan of Palo Pinto County.
Other items from Tuesday’s city council meeting include:
• Approval of the fiscal year 2020 annual financial report, audit, prepared by Carr, Riggs and Ingram, which showed the city finishing the year in a strong position financially. The city received an “Unmodified Opinion” from CRI, which is the best opinion available.
• Palo Pinto County Emergency Services District 1 is now participating in the city’s Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone No. 2 district.
• The council approved an ordinance to deny Oncor’s distribution cost recovery factor that was presented, which allows the Public Utility Commission, as well as other groups, to negotiate the delivery cost of electricity down.