Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Fiscal Court looks to adopt new flood maps

Jerry "Poogie" Brown, Linda Wilson and Tony Felker
examine the county's new dog warden truck.

by Matt Hughes
J-E News Editor
The Webster County Fiscal Court met Monday morning with a discussion of flood plane maps among the biggest items on the agenda.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is currently working on updating flood risk identification using state of the art technology and through partnerships with local communities. As is the case with all Flood Insurance Rate Maps, these new maps are used to calculate the cost of insurance premiums, to establish flood risk zones and base flood elevations to mitigate against potential future flood damages to properties.
“Folks are getting their insurance bills saying that we have adopted this program but we haven’t,” said County Attorney Clint Prow. “If we do, it allows them to get cheaper insurance rates.”
“The maps are wrong,” Judge Executive Jim Townsend pointed out. “Especially in the Sebree area. They are showing places in the flood plain where it has never flooded.”
Magistrate Tony Felker also added that although the entire area around Baldwin Ford was included in the map, he had never seen homes in that area flooded. He told the court that he had seen the road flooded, but never the homes themselves.
“Kerry Johnson with the division of water said they were in the process of revising those maps,” Prow reported. “If we go ahead and adopt the maps now, we can  issue a revised ordinance later on.”
Webster County is not the only area that has reported problems with the FEMA issued flood maps.
“Lyon County refused to accept them,” said Judge Townsend. “So did another half dozen counties further west.”
Magistrate Felker looks at an ad
the county has placed in a state
tourism booklet.
Townsend, however, suggested that Webster County do as Prow had suggested, adopting the maps as they are now and issuing a revision later on. Failing to adopt the FEMA issued maps would most likely result in the loss of any funding from that federal agency. 
“It would also put property owners in a bad spot,” Townsend said. “They would have to prove to their insurance company that they are not in a flood plain.”
He added that there was a procedure to appeal the FEMA decision, if a resident was in a 386 flood plain. That appeal would require an engineer to survey the property and home in question.
The judge also told the court that someone had to be appointed to oversee the FEMA flood plan. He suggested Webster County EMA Director Jeremy Moore.
First reading of the ordinance passed 3-0.
During discussion of the county’s monthly expenditures, Magistrate Jerry “Poogie” Brown questioned a $3,500 payment for tourism.
“The state puts out a visitor’s guide every year,” county treasurer Paula Guinn explained. “This is to be included in that guide.”
“It’s expensive, but it does go all over,” said Judge Townsend. “We have done this for years, but I don’t know if it is worthwhile or not.”
“I don’t know that it’s worth that much money,” added magistrate Chad Townsend.
Guinn informed the magistrates that the ad had already been placed for the current year, meaning it was too late to do anything now but pay the bill. The payment was approved 3-0.
EMA Director Jeremy Moore presented the court with a proposal to purchase a dozen new emergency radios for the county. There would be a radio placed in all of the Webster County School District buildings (Board of Education, Bus Garage, schools, etc) as well as Palmer Place, Red Banks Colonial Terrace and Shemwell’s Nursing Home.
“If there primary phone goes down in the event of an emergency, this would give us the ability to contact them,” Moore said.
At his request, Don’s Mobile Radios in Evansville submitted an offer of $14,273.65 to purchase and install all of the needed equipment. $14,000 of that can come directly from a grant the county has received just for this purpose, leaving the court with only $273.65 to pay.
After Judge Townsend briefly filled the magistrates in on upcoming legislative events in Frankfort, the meeting was adjourned.

No comments:

Post a Comment