Friday, February 14, 2014

UPDATE: Congressman Ed Whitfield agrees to meet with Fiscal Court and members of the public about FEMA flood maps

by Matt Hughes
J-E News Editor
While members of the Webster County Fiscal Court were discussing controversial Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) flood maps on Monday, February 10, Judge Executive Jim Townsend was in Washington meeting with legislators.
The result of those meetings,  according to Magistrate Tony Felker, is that Congressman Ed Whitfield has agreed to come to Webster County on Wednesday, February 19 to meet with the Fiscal Court and members of the public.
Last year FEMA introduced new flood plain maps for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Other states have already had the maps implemented or are in the process of doing so. 
On Monday, a congressional delegation from Massachusetts asked that FEMA suspend and amend new flood maps across their state.
Until someone at a higher level of government does something to right the wrong, Webster County officials have their hands tied.
“If we don’t accept them and we have a big flood in Webster County, we aren’t going to be protected by FEMA,” Felker said.  “We wont get any FEMA assistance for our roads or our residents.” 
Residents of Providence who drew FEMA money following the 2002 tornado understand just how important those funds are, but not adopting the maps means that FEMA will withhold the money.
Lyon and Trigg Counties both faced similar circumstances last year when they reviewed their maps. Both of those counties chose to reject them, regardless of the consequences.
“If we were part of that, we felt that we were giving the maps validity,” Wade White, the Lyon County Judge Executive.
White said that he was initially in favor of adopting the FEMA maps because doing so would help some residents get cheaper flood insurance. But his opinion quickly changed.
“After we decided to join this program, people started getting letters telling them that they had to buy flood insurance up on Lake Barkley,” said White. “FEMA mapped in 70 to 80 homes that are higher than the dam.”
Those counties have recently won a small victory by getting FEMA to agree to redo the maps in Trigg and Lyon Counties.
At Monday’s meeting, several members of the public voiced their concern over the maps, reporting that they had already received bills for their flood insurance even though the county has yet to adopt the maps.
“The fiscal court has no control over the insurance,” magistrate Tony Felker said. “But we can work with our congressmen, and I think it would benefit all of you to call your congressman as well.”
Congressman Whitfield will be at the Webster County Courthouse in Dixon on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m.

For more on the story:

Fiscal Court hears from resident on FEMA flood maps

Two of the areas in question include Sebree, pictured above, 
and Clay, below.