The Jacksonville City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to adopt a plan designed to curb future damage to the city – from, for instance, flood hazards – by studying the statistical patterns of past, similar, incidents.

The city of Jacksonville is the first Cherokee County municipality to become part of this "Hazard Mitigation Action Plan.”

All Cherokee County cities who adopt the plan will become eligible for federal grant monies to alleviate the hazards, officials said.

"Any others in the county who don't adopt it won't be part of the county plan and won't be eligible for those funds," Fire Chief Paul White, Jacksonville's emergency coordinator, explained Wednesday.

White said the plan has already been approved by the state and by the Federal Emergency Management Agency – FEMA.

"The purpose of the plan is to go ahead and identify areas that should be improved," White said. "Let's say you have a particular area of town that floods really bad. This plan will identify all historical data, pinpointing specifically what areas flooded in the past and how many times so you can figure out how to prevent it from  happening again."

One particular example of a past hazard problem – although not a major occurrence – is a Jacksonville creek along Canada street that has flooded into local ditches in the past, White said.  This resulted in excessive water accumulation in the area, he said.

Ronnie Kimbrough, Cherokee County emergency management coordinator, reviewed the scope of the plan with council members during Tuesday's meeting. After his presentation, the council voted unanimously to adopt the plan.

Mo Raissi, city manager, said Wednesday he believes the hazard plan a particularly good idea, one that came highly recommended from the city's public works department.

"They really thought it would be good to pass this resolution," Raissi said.

In other business, Jacksonville Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Smith and Director Ben Briley of the Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department presented representative Xerxes Sanders of H.O.P.E. (Helping Others Pursue Enrichment) with a oversized, $3,081 check designated for the organization's next "Smoking for H.O.P.E." barbecue competition.

The proceeds of this competition go to benefit H.O.P.E., which provides a networking system for Cherokee County churches and charitable agencies, providing the less fortunate with resources and tools “by promoting self-sufficiency,” according to the organization's literature.

The funds in the check were raised through the volunteer efforts of city employees, Raissi said. The first cook-off competition was last year. The latest cook-off was in October. The next one is slated for October 2013, reports show.

Also at the Tuesday meeting, Mayor Kenneth Melvin presented 20-year service pins to Jacksonville Police Department Sgt. Royce McCullough and Jacksonville Assistant Utilities Director Randall Chandler, and a 10-year pin to JPD Patrolman Jonathan Shobert.