Florence levee could flood homeowners with insurance costs

Staff writer

If Florence doesn’t hire an engineer to inspect and certify its levee, home buyers may have to buy costly flood insurance to get mortgages.

“They’re really weighing the possibility that they’re not going to hire an engineer,” Planning and Zoning Director Tonya Richards, said.

The dilemma currently is how Florence will pay for an engineer. There are multiple phases to accrediting a levee, and the initial price is around $200,000.

“If they don’t, FEMA acts as if the levee does not provide any flood protection,” she said. “So a lot of properties not currently in the flood plain because of the levee will then be put into the flood plain.”

Flood insurance would then be required for anyone with a federally backed mortgage. Richards told commissioners there could be around 100 homes affected.

Richards said as long as an engineer is hired, there may not be a definite timeline to pay.

“As long as they’re contractually working on it with an engineer, I assume it could be drawn out for years,” she said.

Florence city workers declined to comment on the situation because it has yet to meet with FEMA to discuss the issue.

Commissioners voted 2-1 Tuesday to sign on for a community ratings system through FEMA, which would give residents a flood insurance premium reduction. Randy Dallke was opposed.

“I think there’s going to be more (regulations) than what we know,” Dallke said. “I don’t want to doubt anybody, but I just know that there are going to be more regulations that come through.”

For each point a community receives through the CRS, residents will receive a five percent reduction in federal flood insurance premiums. Richards said she thinks Marion residents would receive a discount between 10 and 20 percent.

County purchases more radon kits

Commissioners agreed to pay the Kansas State extension office $250 to order 50 more radon kits for residents signed up to a waiting list, beyond free ones provided by the state.

The initial 20 kits sent from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment ran out the day they arrived, but KDHE will send 35 more free kits once they receive them. Currently, 75 residents are signed up to the county’s waiting list.

In other business:

  • Commissioners approved a raise for Jacob Schadel in the road and bridge department from $2,179 to $2,222. He has worked in the department six months.
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