Cooke County —
Cooke County officials issued a reminder during the past week about the ongoing availability of federal reimbursement for qualified local residents who install “safe room” storm shelters.
Emergency Management Coordinator Ray Fletcher said Saturday that participating residents who are already slotted to receive this reimbursement, and have not completed their shelter installations, should act quickly.
“We hope everyone doesn’t wait until the first severe weather occurrence to remember that they need to have this done,” he said.
On Dec. 10, Fletcher released an announcement about the county’s receipt of the first rebate reimbursement check for the ongoing “Safe Room Grant” program.
“We received a check for $96,273.61 from the Texas Division of Emergency Management to facilitate the reimbursement of half the cost of purchase and installation of a storm shelter for 45 residents of Cooke County,” he said on Dec. 10.
Fletcher explained in his announcement that 45 residents completed the installation of their shelters by the initial deadline of Oct. 1, and were included in the first quarterly report to the state. But Fletcher said Saturday that only 12 more shelters have been completed since that deadline and will be included on the second report set to be submitted in January — even though the preferred number would have been at least 30.
“The second quarterly report goes in next week,” he said Saturday. “After the first quarterly report and reimbursement, it went very smoothly. And so we’d sure appreciate if those remaining would get theirs done as soon as possible, especially with severe weather season just around the corner.”
During August, a total of approximately 150 Cooke County residents were given the initial “go-ahead” to install a safe room/storm shelter. This group has until May 31, 2013, to complete the installation; Fletcher said those who fail to complete their projects by that deadline will have their approvals revoked and will lose their opportunities to participate in the program.
“We currently have an additional 94 residents on the waiting list and they will be given the places of those not complete by the May 2013 deadline,” he said, adding that people approved to take those unused slots will have until March 2014 to complete their own installations.
“At this point, the first round of reimbursements did not use all of the allotted funds, so we anticipate being able to do a few more than the 150 initially anticipated,” Fletcher explained earlier in December. “As we get farther into the program, we’ll be able to reallocate any unused funds to allow for more shelter installations.”
To be eligible for the rebate, the person performing the safe room/shelter installation must be certified by the National Storm Shelter Association or the American Tornado Shelter Association. The applicant must own the home — and the home must not be in a flood plain, and must be within Cooke County property lines.
Funding is limited and applications will be administered on a “first-come, first-served” basis. For more information, call (940) 668-5400.