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Lack of hazard plan still causing delays for Laquey, Crocker schools
PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (Nov. 17, 2008) — Representatives of the Meramec Regional Planning Commission came to Thursday’s meeting of the Pulaski County Commission with a report on the long-delayed efforts to adopt a hazard mitigation plan.

Failure by Pulaski County to adopt a plan has prevented the school boards in Crocker and Laquey from moving ahead with their efforts to add buildings with federal funding that could be used as storm shelters in emergencies but ordinarily would be used for school purposes.

“We know it has been a hassle,” said Richard Cavender, executive director of the Meramec Regional Planning Commission.

The root of the problem, Cavender said, is the failure of the Lake Ozarks Council of Local Governments to produce the hazard mitigation plan that organization had been paid to produce for Pulaski County. Lake Ozarks’ failure to do what they had been paid to do was a major factor in Pulaski County’s decision to petition the governor for permission to leave the Lake Ozarks group and join Meramec.

The problem now is that state officials have been asked to help produce the plan, and that hasn’t happened, either.

“Their person that they had assigned to write the plan left, they were overloaded and couldn’t get it done, so they came to us and asked what we would charge to do it,” Cavender said.

Tammy Snodgrass, a Meramec staffer who works with the emergency management plans, said she’s called State Emergency Management Agency officials to see what Laquey and Crocker should do.

“I said we have these two schools that want to submit their applications; (SEMA officials) said to go ahead and submit the applications,” Snodgrass said.

That’s because some money is expected to be left over and may be usable in a second set of grants,” Snodgrass said.

Commissioners Bill Farnham and Dennis Thornsberry, who was formerly an officer of the Lake Ozarks Council, said they’ve run out of patience with the Lake Ozarks Council and its director, Jim Dickerson.

“Is there any way we can go after him to get this money?” Farnham asked. “This has caused a lot of heartache and grief for the citizens of this county.”

“I want to add to that,” Thornsberry agreed. “The state of Missouri gave him a grant to write this at no cost for the citizens of this county. My personal opinion is the state of Missouri should go after him and make him pay back that money.”

Cavender said that may be premature.

“My only caution is we don’t want to upset anything until we get this all done,” Cavender said.

“I agree — we don’t want to stir things up with them until we get this plan done,” said Presiding Commissioner Bill Ransdall.

Cavender said his caution shouldn’t be interpreted as disagreement.

“I suspect that Laclede County and Camden County would want to join with you; I don’t think anyone got their plan done. It just isn’t right,” Cavender said. “We are doing everything we can to get you a plan.”

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