Special to the Register
Gainesville Daily Register
Cooke County —
Cooke County Emergency Management Coordinator Ray Fletcher released an announcement on Monday 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.
The 45 residents completed the installation of their shelters by the deadline of Oct. 1, and were included in the first quarterly report to the state. Fletcher said approximately eight more shelters have been completed since the deadline and will be included on the second report set to be submitted in January.
During August, approximately 150 Cooke County residents were given an initial “go-ahead” to install a safe room/storm shelter. They have until May 31 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. “With the spring’s severe weather season just around the corner, I hope the remainder of the original 150 get on the ball and get their shelters installed.”
Cooke County’s “Safe Room Grant” program was originally approved in May 2012, and Cooke County officials were notified in June.
The original grant is for $450,000, which allows the installation of a minimum of 150 safe rooms/shelters.
“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 said. “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.