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Slowly but surely the Federal Emergency Management Agency has provided the Houston County and City of Dothan with reimbursements for Hurricane Michael response.

According to City of Dothan Finance Director Lisa Reeder, the city has submitted $3,889,020.18 to FEMA for reimbursement consideration. FEMA, which will pay a minimum of 75 percent of eligible costs, had awarded the city $15,794.12 for damages to bridges/culverts as of early last week.

Houston County has fared better, as FEMA had awarded that entity about $135,000 as of last Monday. Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver told the Eagle a few weeks ago that more reimbursements are expected soon.

Several government functions qualify for FEMA reimbursement when the organization declares an area is eligible for public assistance following a disaster. Items like debris removal and repair of facilities – and the man hours required to accomplish these tasks – will be reimbursed after FEMA verifies an entity’s claims.

Currently FEMA is still working with city officials regarding time sheets, invoices, and contracts for city damages, Reeder said. FEMA continues to discuss repair of school awnings and columns with the city, as well.

Other projects not included in the city’s first filing include fencing and roofing projects and damage at Eastgate Park, Reeder said. FEMA will consider reimbursement for those efforts at a later time.

Denton project progressing: It appears Dothan is getting closer to starting the long-discussed project to widen Denton Road to five lanes from Ross Clark Circle to Westgate Parkway.

The Dothan City Commission will consider approving a revised agreement with the Alabama Department of Transportation regarding the construction and utility costs involved in the project. The revision updates the cost share between the city and state.

Officials project the cost of the project to be $8,038,724.06, of which federal funds dispersed through ALDOT will cover $4,987,889. Anything beyond that – currently estimated to be $3,050,835.06 – will be the city’s responsibility.

Dothan Public Works Director Charles Metzger anticipates officials will open bids for the project in September.

Landfill update: The city began advertising bids for a project to expand its landfill Sunday, Metzger said. The Alabama Department of Environmental Management awarded Dothan the permit needed to begin the project in early May.

The expansion will allow the city to begin using the facility again after closing it in 2014 due to capacity concerns. Since the closure, the city has hauled garbage to a transfer station where a contractor hauled it to a landfill in Campbellton, Florida.

The contract is based on amount of garbage and has cost the city between $750,000 and $1 million per year.

Committee review: In a new addition to the “Government Oversight” notebook, I will take a look at some of the committees and boards the City of Dothan and Houston County utilizes in governing the area. First will be the Dothan Personnel Board.

The board, which meets on the second Monday of each month at 3:30 p.m., tackles a few subjects like position reclassifications, position additions/subtractions, and travel requests for personnel department staff. The board also plays an appellate role in city employee discipline actions and can uphold department head decisions, reduce the punishment, or reinstate an employee and compensate him or her for lost wages.

Members of the board are Mark Smith, Tim Shirley, Larry Harris, Mary Davis, and Barbara Spann.

Meeting schedule: In addition to the Dothan City Commission at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Dothan Civic Center, a couple of other governmental meetings will occur this week.

The Dothan Planning Commission will meet Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Civic Center. The Houston County Commission will conduct its administrative meeting Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Houston County Administration Building.

The Dothan City Commission will also have a work session Friday at 10 a.m. in the Civic Center to discuss the master plan for Water World. Earlier this year the city hired a consultant to study the park’s features and operations and recommend any changes.

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