GOSHEN — A flood relief emergency fund created by the city in response to the record-breaking flooding of February 2018 was expanded Tuesday by the Goshen City Council to cover a much wider range of potential future disasters.

During their meeting, council members voted to approve Ordinance 5006, which renamed the city’s former Flood Relief Fund to Emergency Relief Fund, and significantly expanded its permitted uses.

“As you’re all well aware, we created the Flood Relief Fund during the flood last year in February. We still had a lot of funds left over in there, so what we talked about in meetings with several council members, and also with staff, is reestablishing this fund to be able to utilize it for other natural disasters, disasters that happen in our community,” Goshen Mayor Jeremy Stutsman said in introducing the ordinance Tuesday. “It will be my intent in the budgeting process every year to fully appropriate every last dollar that’s in that account at the beginning of the year. That way we can react quickly, and don’t have to come back for additional appropriations.”

Stutsman noted that the emergency relief funds will only be available for use once he has officially declared an emergency resulting from a natural disaster, and thus will not be available to assist with smaller events, such as a single house fire, etc.

“This is about being able to react quicker but appropriately at the same time,” Stutsman added of the ordinance. “I believe that for these funds to be utilized, it would have to be under a situation where I have declared an emergency within the community of Goshen. That’s something that we do through the county and the state, so it’s not something that you just do. There have to be really good reasons for it.”