Naquin updates council on flood insurance rate hikes
Improved levees, delta growth and drainage pumps are just a few of the factors that will be added into the equation when new flood elevation maps are configured, according to parish President Paul Naquin.
His remarks were made to the parish council Wednesday during its regular bi-monthly meeting on his recent trip to Washington, D.C. with other coastal representatives concerned with increased flood insurance rates due to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act passed by Congress last year.
The legislation ends flood insurance rate subsidies and phases out grandfathering of existing structures.
U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu has just introduced a new bill to correct flaws in Biggert-Waters, according to a press release from her office.
Called the Strengthen, Modernize and Reform the National Flood Insurance Program Act, the SMART NFIP would “delay premium increases, repeal provisions preventing new owners of sold homes to continue subsidized rates, and allow the rebuilding of key community facilities destroyed in a disaster that lie in velocity zones (v-zones).”
As the law stands now, residents holding mortgages face annual flood insurance premiums as high as $28,000 on a $200,000 home built to code and two feet above existing flood plain elevations, according to Naquin.
He advised all residents to consult with the parish Planning Office before building new structures for information on required flood elevations.
Chief Administrative Officer Henry “Bo” LaGrange noted that the parish has not yet adopted the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s latest Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps issued in 2008 due to the appeal of those maps by the City of Morgan City.
He added that reevaluated studies by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers indicate that most of the levee systems in St. Mary are adequate for hurricane surge protection from 1 percent flood events.
“We’ll keep monitoring it and keep you posted on it as it moves forward,” he said.
In other business the council:
—Told Diane Wiltz, Safe and Drug Free Schools coordinator for the school board, that the annual $3,500 funding allocation for the Red Ribbon Drug-Free Campaign has already been included in the budget.
—Passed resolutions adopting and approving the 2012 state Compliance Questionnaire for the Sales & Use Tax Department; a mowing and litter pick up maintenance agreement with DOTD through June 2014; endorsing participation in the Quality Jobs Program by Gavilon Midstream Energy LLC; and a professional services agreement on the St. Mary Parish Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Plan Update.
—Approved a request by Councilman David Hanagriff to transfer $11,600 from the Wards 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 10 three-tenths percent sales tax fund to Community Action Agency for summer youth program in the Verdunville and Centerville area.
—Assigned the Banner-Tribune as official journal for the year July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014.
—Appointed as board members Lee Dragna to Consolidated Gravity Drainage District 2; and Oscar Toups and Edward Thomas to Recreation District 2.
—Heard from Physician Assistant Gabe Beadle on services offered by the Urgent Care of Morgan City clinic located across from Teche Regional Medical Center.