Flood insurance change sought by St. Mary Parish Levee District commissioners
MORGAN CITY, La. — The St. Mary Parish Levee District commission adopted a resolution that would allow for a special one-year period for residents to buy flood insurance in light of the new FEMA flood elevation maps.
The resolution is proposed before Congress by the Association of Levee Boards of Louisiana in response to the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012 and the FEMA flood maps, which would update the base flood elevation levels of certain areas requiring some landowners to raise their buildings or face much higher flood insurance premiums.
The commission held its regular monthly meeting Thursday at the Port of Morgan City.
St. Mary Parish Levee District Executive Director Tim Matte said the resolution asks to “reinstate the grandfather provision” for National Flood Insurance.
The resolution the Association of Levee Boards of Louisiana is proposing to Congress would allow a single-family residence to keep its current insurance rates but, if the owner sells the property, the insurance rates on the residence would still not be grandfathered in, Matte said.
The one-year period would allow residents, who do not have flood insurance and may have never flooded, time to shop for insurance, Matte said.
St. Mary Parish President Paul Naquin along with 12 other parish presidents recently visited Washington, D.C., to discuss the National Flood Insurance changes, Matte said. Sen. Mary Landrieu and Sen. David Vitter are working on an amendment to a bill “as a vehicle to try and help some of these changes,” he added.
T. Baker Smith engineer Jason Kennedy presented a report on the wave run-up analysis his firm performed on levees at the Wax Lake East and West outlets. Following FEMA procedures for modeling, they calculated the maximum wave run-up for 100-year storm protection to be 12.1 feet high on the levees, Kennedy said. In some areas in St. Mary Parish, the new FEMA maps show the levees need to be raised to 18.5 feet or more than 19 feet in some places to provide 100-year storm protection, he said.
Kennedy said he plans to submit the analysis to the U.S. Corps of Engineers today.
The parish levee district commission also approved CB&I infrastructure company to file a permit for the Bayou Chene Flood Control & Diversion project.
The permitting and surveying for the Bayou Chene project has begun, said Jeff Peña of CB&I. Plans are to finish the geotechnical work for the project by mid-July and then proceed with the preliminary design phase, Peña said.
Peña expects to have the final permit in August and the completion date for the Bayou Chene project is sometime in 2016. The estimated cost was around $80 million as of April.
In other business, the commission
—Approved hiring T. Baker Smith to prepare alternative flood protection options for Lakeside Subdivision in Morgan City. The report is estimated to cost about $20,000, Matte said. The work had been approved at the April meeting but the agenda was not expanded, so this approval was a formality, he added.
—Adopted the 2013 millage rate of 5 mills for the parish. The rate stayed the same as the 2012 rate, said levee district attorney William Bourgeois.
—Approved an intergovernmental agreement with Drainage District 2 in Morgan City to manage the drainage district’s construction projects.