Council revisits flood insurance program

By LEA RIZZO, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 12/6/17

SUMITON — The Sumiton City Council revisited the issue Tuesday of the city participating in the National Flood Insurance Program, an issue which was first raised in 2016.

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Council revisits flood insurance program

Posted

SUMITON — The Sumiton City Council revisited the issue Tuesday of the city participating in the National Flood Insurance Program, an issue which was first raised in 2016.

Mayor Petey Ellis recently received a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regarding a revised, preliminary version of the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) and Flood Insurance Study (FIS), which the city received earlier this year for Jefferson County and incorporated areas. These reports include “proposed flood hazard information for certain locations in the City of Sumiton,” according to the letter.

The agenda for the council meeting stated that the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs “is now administering the participation in the National Flood Insurance Program and they are urging cities that are not already participating to strongly consider joining.”

“We moved on from this because of the expense of the engineering and that sort of thing, and I’m not sure we can move on from it now,” said Ellis.

The council had previously tabled discussion about joining the flood insurance program in September 2016, after initially voting to apply for the program in March 2016. However, a group of homeowners pushed back against the city joining the program because it would require them to purchase flood insurance, which they didn’t want to do. From there, the city eventually tabled the discussion and didn’t revisit the issue until Tuesday’s meeting.

A notice of the proposed flood hazard determinations can be found in today’s edition of the Daily Mountain Eagle, as well as the Dec. 13 edition. According to the notice, “these flood hazard determinations may include the addition or modification of base flood elevations, base flood depths, special flood hazard area boundaries or zone designations, or the regulatory flood-way.”

The letter Ellis received also states that these “proposed flood hazard determinations, if finalized, will become the basis for the floodplain management measures that your community must adopt or show evidence of already having in effect to qualify or remain qualified for the participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).”

Ellis said Tuesday he would speak to Robert Nelson, the city’s engineer, to determine what is required to establish what is a flood plain, according to federal government standards.

Sumiton will be provided with a 90-day appeal period, beginning Dec. 13. Those with concerns can contact Ellis and Sumiton City Hall.

For more information on the FIRM and FIS reports, visit www.fema.gov/preliminaryfloodhazarddata or www.adeca.alabama.gov/floods or visit www.fema.gov/ plan/prevent/fhm/bfe for information on flood hazard determinations.

In other action, council members:

•learned that local attorney Steven Gravlee is looking into tearing down some of the dilapidated houses in the city.

A 1997 ordinance the city currently has in place, however, requires an abatement board.

Glover “is going to look into that and see if we might even do away with the abatement board,” Ellis said. “We’re going to do some research on this and move forward with cleaning up some of these old properties.”

•heard from Fire Chief David Waid that the fire department’s annual Toys for Tots giveaway will be on Dec. 16.

Those wishing to donate to the program can still do so by contacting city hall.