Butler County Times Gazette
  • FEMA changes to affect properties in flood plains

  • Changes to FEMA regulations could impact some El Dorado residents who reside in flood plains.
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  • Changes to FEMA regulations could impact some El Dorado residents who reside in flood plains.
    The changes came about because of the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, which calls on the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other agencies to make a number of changes to the way the NFIP is run.
    During the El Dorado City Commission meeting Monday, Scott Rickard, assistant city engineer, said there are some significant changes with this.
    “The goal of congress was to make the National Flood Insurance Program to be more of a self-sufficient system and the rates reflect true risk of the property,” he said.
    The city currently has 65 properties with required flood insurance.
    Of those, there are 13 properties that have experienced past losses. For those primary residences, they will see a rate increase of 25 percent starting in October. That will keep going up 25 percent for up to five years until it reflects the true cost of flood insurance.
    Those who have not had any claims will not see any increases until they do have a claim, then it will cause the increases to start. Also, if someone sells a property in a flood area, the rates will rise.
    Those who own a non-primary or secondary residence are seeing a 25 percent increase annually until rates reflect true risk which began Jan. 1, 2013. In addition owners of business properties in the flood areas will see the increase annually beginning Oct. 1 as well.
    “There are some very significant impacts to properties located in the flood way,” he said. “I would encourage anyone who has questions on this to definitely give my office a call,” Rickard said.
    He said it will be important for them to know the elevation of their house so they can take that elevation certificate to the insurance agent. He already has elevations for some properties.
    The Act also calls for a phase-out of discounts, including grandfathered rates and move to a risk-based rates for most properties when the community adopts a new flood insurance rate map.
    In other business, the commission:
    • heard a presentation on the city’s audit by Berberich Trahan & Co., P.A. In the process, the firm looks at a sampling of significant transactions and cycles, accounting policies and estimates, and significant or unusual transactions.
    In the audit, they found the adoption of one new accounting policy on financial reporting of deferred outflow and inflow of resources and net position.
    They also determined the city’s two significant estimates were reasonable.
    “From our side of the table, we felt like the audit went very well,” said Karen Keehn, CPA with Berberich Trahan.
    Page 2 of 2 - They did report one significant deficiency in internal control, which was the number of journal entries. This also was a deficiency last year, but Keehn said there was significant improvement, although it was still at a level they had to report it. The other two deficiencies the city had had been resolved.
    A copy of the 2012 financial report is available on the city’s Web site.
    • approved the vacation of a portion of Norris Drive between John K. Fisher and the storage units. Some property owners did have concerns because they use that area to drive to the backs of their properties, although it is against municipal code to drive back there.
    • discussed ball fields and local games. Commissioner Bill Young complimented city staff and the rec department on the officials and good sportsmanship in this year’s summer softball. In addition, Mayor Mike Fagg asked who was responsible for cleaning the bathrooms at the ball parks. The city cleans them every day during baseball season. When they rent them out for tournaments, they clean them at the start of the day, then the host is responsible for cleaning them throughout the day.
    • discussed the policy on block parties and blocking off streets. The concern arose when the city started charging a $100 fee for dropping off barricades. Herb Llewellyn, city manager, said they had changed the fee several years ago, but had not told staff to implement it until last year. Last year, they still did not charge but told people they would start charging this year. The commissioners felt the fee was too high and made a motion to reduce the fee from $100 to $25.
    • approved an ordinance to change the commission quorum from three to four. This is action they take each year.
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