CHARLESTON - Being in charge of managing county emergencies is getting more and more complicated.
Mississippi County commissioners reviewed a letter addressed to Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg from Ronald M. Reynolds, director of the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, during their regular meeting Thursday.
The letter advises SEMA "is in the process of administering the U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Incident Management Capability Assessment Support Tool."
Reynolds explains assessment using the NIMCAST is part of the implementation process for the National Incident Management System and meeting the corresponding federal, state and local compliance requirements for NIMS.
The NIMS is being developed and administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security by a Presidential Directive to provide a consistent nationwide approach for governments to work together effectively and efficiently "to prepare for, prevent, respond to and recover from domestic incidents regardless of cause, size or complexity," according to Reynolds.
Compliance with the NIMS is required for applications for federal preparedness funds. The deadline for full NIMS compliance is Sept. 30, 2006.
Among the implementation requirements that must be achieved by the deadline is the establishment of a NIMS baseline by determining which requirements are already met using the NIMCAST which is a Web-based assessment tool consisting of around 75 "yes-no" questions to help identify those areas of the NIMS that need attention.
SEMA, which is the administrative agent for NIMCAST in Missouri, will provide access to the tool to whoever the county designates as its point of contact. This person will then be responsible for completing the questions.
Commissioners agreed the county's representative should probably be the county's local emergency management director.
"It's Terry McClain right now," said County Clerk Junior DeLay said. The position used to be civil defense director, Blumenberg recalled.
"With this NIMS deal, there's going to be a lot of paperwork," DeLay said.
Commissioners discussed the possibility of appointing someone who will have the time to handle the increasing workload for the position, noting the county has not been participating in Local Emergency Planning Commission meetings.
DeLay also advised commissioners the tabletop exercise for the county's emergency responders that was to take place July 18 was canceled due to scheduling conflicts. The program will require a two to three-hour block of time, according to DeLay.
In other Mississippi County news discussed during Thursday's County Commission meeting:
* Bids for the construction of a new bridge at Four Mile Pond will be opened June 16.
Blumenberg said they should close the road about 50-60 feet from the bridge.
* Commissioner Martin Lucas described the latest report from the juvenile detention center as "good news."
According to the report from Becky Tinsley, superintendent of the juvenile detention center, in May the center's highest inmate count for a day was 18 with an average count of 13.7 juveniles. In 2004, the highest inmate count was 12 with an average of only 8.9.
Tinsley also reported that on May 31, 2004, the center had collected $59,266.50. That figure is up to $81,510 for this year as of May 31.
* Blumenberg expressed concern over the road and bridge department's utility bill budget having already spent $4,100 after only five months. Last year's total was $5,800 with $6,000 budgeted.