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Hinesville to be reimbursed for storm
Taking a Drive After Irma

Hinesville is expected to receive a $106,491 reimbursement check from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for funds spent for debris removal, clean up and recovery efforts after Hurricane Irma last September.

The city had submitted documentation to FEMA requesting $128,963.79 city council members learned at a meeting Thursday. The FEMA reimbursement covered a variety of post storm related efforts. The final amount the city will receive means the city will recoup roughly 85 percent of various storm related costs.

According to the FEMA report, the city cleared out 7,020 cubic yards of vegetative debris. That debris was then ground up for disposal in Odum.

The reimbursement also covered funds spent for the emergency protective measures, such as evacuation support and sheltering, safety barricades, after storm safety inspections, supplies and commodities.

Also Thursday, the council approved an emergency action compensation plan and policy. 

City Manager Kenneth Howard presented the plan for payment and tracking of wages during an impending or declared emergency, disaster response and recovery period. 

The policy would allow the city manager, with consent of the mayor and council, to activate the policy during emergencies. 

It also allows the city manager to grant up to 40 hours of paid administrative leave for each emergency to prevent financial hardship to employees who are directed to not report to work. 

Nils Gustavson and Rachel Hatcher presented resolution 2018-09 to the mayor and council to adopt the Transit Development Plan (TDP).

TDPs are evaluated every five years in order to meet the requirements for federal and state funding. Hatcher made several recommendations for the city’s 2018 TDP. Short-term plans included:

• Restructuring the route schedules to use a simpler time-point structure. The goal is to have a fixed 60/90/120 minute bus stop frequency. 

• Recommended route modifications: 

o A single route on Fort Stewart. 

o All routes stop at Liberty Regional Medical Center. 

o Provide service to the new Walmart East and West, Diversity Health & DFACs. 

o Convert YMCA loop from limited to regular service. 

o Minimize “loops” to improve direct service. 

o Minimize “limited” service runs. 

Mid-term plans included:

• In coordination with complementary paratransit providing curb to curb demand response ride service scheduled to start Nov. 1, use the required dispatch and new capacity to implement a system wide demand response feeder system to: 

o Maintain service to Fort Stewart by pre-screening passengers in support of fort security, when and if access protocol changes. 

o Improved service to low density areas like western Hinesville, Walthourville and eastern Flemington. 

o Concentrate the fixed routes to higher population density areas thereby increasing route frequency.

The TDP study cost $90,446 with 90 percent reimbursed through Section 5307 Operation Grants.

The council approved the TDP.

The council also approved using a $53,188.92 surplus from 2017 to pay toward the city’s CIGNA health insurance renewal. CIGNA is proposing a 14.94 premium increase to renew the city’s current plan. By using the surplus money it lessens the premium to 11.55 percent, and keeps insurance cost within the means for the city employees.

The council approved one day alcohol licenses and additional poly-cart receptacles for the Blues, Brew and BBQ event, the Liberty County Chamber’s annual Low Country Boil and the Christmas parade. 

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