Flowery Branch City Council members Thursday night voted to grant Mayor Mike Miller sole authority to declare a local emergency.
Previously, declaration of a local emergency required a quorum from the council.
“What this ordinance does is the fleshing out with, an actual resolution that shows and more clearly delineates, what would be the actions for the city during emergency,” City Manager Bill Andrew said.
The move to create Chapter 25 in the city’s Emergency Management Code was in part to hasten the decision-making process when time is of the essence in situations of emergency or disaster.
“We’ve also talked to Oakwood and they’ve recently updated theirs,” Andrew said.
The revised code is based upon a Georgia Municipal Association sample ordinance, created in cooperation with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and Association County Commissioners of Georgia. The council does retain the ability to rescind the emergency and take other actions it deems appropriate.
“It fills in the gap,” Councilman Joe Anglin said. “It sets forth procedures for the local government to declare an emergency that might not rise to the level of a county or state one.”
Dan Yeargin, GEMA/Homeland Security Region One coordinator, is responsible for emergency logistics in 24 counties in Northeast Georgia. He said the move by Flowery Branch to update its existing processes is an example of cities becoming more proactive and encouraging coordinated emergency processes.
Andrew noted the resolution was considered in tandem with a second one that officially recognizes the city’s participation with the Hall County Emergency Management Agency.
“This was based upon the county asking us to work with them on that,” Andrew said.
According to Andrew, discussions with Gainesville Police Chief Brian Kelly are under way about collaborative efforts in the case of a larger scale emergency.
“(Kelly) indicated that he had recently spoken with the new sheriff (Gerald Couch) coming on board and they all felt that it might be time for an effort to involve Oakwood, Flowery Branch, Hall County and the city of Gainesville in joint table top exercises to look at how we might better coordinate our resources,” Andrew said.