The Mayor and Town Council are pleased to distribute this informational newsletter and the enclosed hurricane preparedness brochure for your information and review. We want to express our sincere appreciation to the DIPOA Board of Directors for allowing the Town to partner with them in an effort to provide important information to all of our fellow Dauphin Island property owners. If you have a question or comment regarding these or other matters please contact Town Hall at the following; 1011 Bienville Boulevard, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, 251-861-5525 or Fax 251-861-2154, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
BERM AND BENCH PROJECTS
It was the Fall of 1998, following the devastating effects of Hurricane Georges, when FEMA awarded the original berm project for the West End of Dauphin Island. Within two years the “emergency flood protective measure” was completed only to be destroyed by Hurricane Isidore in 2002. Since that time, several more berm and bench (a widening of the beach/shoreline on which to construct a berm) projects have been prescribed but complexities with permitting and construction design issues, coupled with the adverse effects of Ivan and Katrina, have kept those plans on “the drawing board”.
As a result of the extreme damages caused by Katrina, FEMA has again awarded the Town with a combination berm and bench project to provide flood protection from a 5-year storm (a storm that usually comes along at least once in an average five year period). A berm project is NOT designed as a “hurricane stopper” nor does it offer any real long-term protection for homes or infrastructure. It is, by design, a temporary fix. So why bother? At 15% of the cost (Federal and State funds cover 85%), it is the only viable project currently on the table that will put sand on the beach! In the meantime, we will likely learn the outcome of the POA lawsuit and continue pursuing a more permanent solution to this chronic problem.
The most recent berm and bench projects awarded by FEMA include; (1) a combination berm and bench from Pensacola Street to the West end of Bienville Boulevard, (2) a berm only from Pensacola Street East to Pelican Street (near fishing pier) and (3) a berm only in Audubon Place from the easternmost boundary of the subdivision and extending westward some 600 feet. While the estimated cost of these projects is $4 million, it is important to note that these figures are subject to change as the project moves forward. Our local cost share is 15% of the TOTAL COST of the projects. The Town has earmarked $300,000 and the DIPOA and Dauphin Island Foundation are currently accepting contributions for the balance of the required match. We applaud the leadership of these two entities for “stepping up to the plate” to help us achieve our goal.
The Corps of Engineers will serve as project manager on behalf of the Town. Although preliminary surveys and some permits are already in hand, construction may not begin until late 2006. In the meantime, property owners along the affected area can help expedite the process. The Town will be sending out (via certified mail) a request for “permanent easements” from selected property owners as required by Alabama law. We encourage you to review the document, sign and notarize and return to Town Hall in a timely fashion so as to avoid any further delays.
HURRICANE DEBRIS & DAMAGED STRUCTURES
As we rapidly approach another hurricane season along the Gulf Coast, the Town is concerned with the amount of hurricane debris and damaged structures remaining from last year’s storm. While some homeowners may still be dealing with their insurance company, it is imperative that all property owners properly dispose of leftover debris and repair or demolish damaged structures as soon as possible. The Building Inspection Department is in the process of identifying properties that could potentially pose a health and/or safety risk. Notices will be sent via certified mail informing the proper owner of the hazard along with a specific timeline for implementing the prescribed remedy. Please help us make the island a safe and clean community!
Now is the time to check your hurricane re-entry card to make sure it is current. Remember, your return to the island may be delayed if you do not have a re-entry card in your vehicle. Several changes are in place for the upcoming season as follows; (1) cards will no longer be issued at the off-island checkpoint as was done during recent post-storm periods, (2) re-entry cards will be issued at Town Hall during regular business hours (Monday-Thursday 7:00AM-5:30PM) instead of 24/7 at the police department; (3) COLOR CODE CHANGES include: WHITE tags will be issued for 5 years for full-time residents; 2 years for part-time residents; 1 year for renters, business owner/business employee, and unimproved property owners; ORANGE tags will be issued for 1 year for contractors; TEMPORARY PAPER PERMITS will be issued for 3 months for workers/helpers on an “as needed” basis. Signed statement identifying worker/helper from business and/or resident/home owner is required before issuance. Depending on the severity of the storm, access to the island may initially be delayed and/or limited on a priority basis. Please take time to update your cards ASAP!
FIRE & RESCUE
For many years, residents and visitors of our island community have relied on the dedicated and talented services of our volunteer Fire & Rescue Squad. As our community continues to grow, the Town is researching the possibility of establishing a paid 24/7 rescue service. Although such vital emergency medical service would be a tremendous accomplishment for our island, we must find a way to fund what could be a $500,000 annual cost for such an endeavor. We will continue to explore a variety of options to secure the best possible emergency response system for our community.
LONG TERM RECOVERY
Citizens and representatives from various entities within our community joined forces recently to assemble a Long Term Recovery Initiative for Dauphin Island. The purpose of such an effort is to reduce the recovery time following a natural disaster by creating a more hurricane resistant community. In addition, desired projects can readily be submitted to a variety of funding sources as they become available. The following is a sampling of the projects that were compiled for Dauphin Island; Develop and Implement a Coastal Re-nourishment Program, Drainage System for the Central and Eastern Sections of the Island (with emphasis on wetland preservation and water retention), Acquisition of Repetitive Loss Properties on the West End, Acquisition of Property/Design and Construction of a Multi-purpose Municipal Complex, Post-disaster Communications Support (D.I. Emergency Broadcast System), Repair/upgrade Parks & Recreational Facilities, Elevation & Weatherization of low lying homes, etc. We thank those individuals who participated in this important process.
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN REVISION
The Town is about to embark on the five year revision of the Comprehensive Plan. In fact, the process was underway when Katrina hit last August, forcing us to delay the project. This will be a great opportunity for all property owners to become involved and help shape the future of our island community. Ample notice will be given to encourage public input which is vital to the success of the overall project.
HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS BROCHURE
Attached please find the Hurricane Preparedness Pamphlet for your information and review. Our staff has put together an attractive and informative brochure to help you through the upcoming hurricane season. As a participant in the Community Rating System the Town has qualified most flood insurance subscribers with a 10% discount on their annual premiums (check your flood insurance invoices to see if you received the Community Rating system discount). Hopefully, we will increase the percentage of discount (maximum 45% discount) through our continued implementation of various aspects of the program. We hope you find the information helpful.