Since local involvement began during 2012, a federal reimbursement program is set to provide Cooke County with $750,000 to help participants install storm shelters on their property.
Cooke County Fire Marshal Ray Fletcher, who also coordinates the county’s emergency management agency, said Monday that 110 shelters have been locally established in the area because of the program — and by late 2014, the funding may finally provide a total of more than 300.
Funding remains available for new participants, but the window of availability is growing short. Fletcher said residents still can sign up through March 2014, with an administrative deadline set for May.
The program’s background
Several Register stories have outlined the steps leading to the county’s involvement in the federal program. 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 that, on a semi-annual basis, reimburses an allotted number of participants who install storm shelters on their property.
County involvement with the program began in May 2012; the originally requested total of $450,000, which provides 150 shelters, was sent in portions and the first check came in December.
“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.
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 had until May 31, to complete the installation; Fletcher said in a past story those who fail to complete their projects by the semi-annual deadlines will have their approvals revoked and will lose their opportunities to participate in the program — and this also applies to new participants who become eligible for the program’s current installment.
How to qualify
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.
For more information about deadlines and terms of reimbursement, call (940) 668-5400.
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