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Taylorsville residents who live within the floodwalls could see a significant increase in their insurance costs if the city loses its certification, Floodwall Commissioner Gary Kehne told city commissioners last Tuesday.
“There’s going to be some mad people in this town,” said Kehne, if the city does not comply with its promise to repair the levee by July 2010.
According to Kentucky Farm Bureau, all flood insurance rates are strictly set by the National Flood Program. Homeowners are not required to have flood insurance. If they choose to purchase this additional policy, prices are dependent on a home’s location on the flood map; the type of structure, including whether there is a basement or a crawl space; and how much coverage the homeowner wants for contents.
One such scenario is that a $200,000 home on Main Street with $80,000 in content coverage would have a yearly increase for flood insurance of about $350.
Business could also see insurance rates rise if Taylorsville loses their status as a flood-protected community.
Kehne said initial estimates to meet FEMA standards for re-certification would cost the city $350,000. The majority of those costs would be used for the removal of trees and tree roots that could compromise the integrity of the wall of earth protecting city dwellers.
“This is a big challenge in front of us,” said Taylorsville Mayor Don Pay. “It affects every one of us. It affects the county as well as the city. No one agency can shoulder this.”
Pay said he would like to include county leaders on any future conversations about floodwall repairs. Plans were for various local agencies to meet today to discuss this and other public safety issues.
“Whatever the expenses, we are going to have to pay it,” said Kehne of the federal unfunded mandate.
Requirements are that the city maintain a 15-foot easement on both sides of the floodwall that is free of debris, trees, fences and structures. Kehne hoped that many of the fences and outbuildings could be allowed to remain under some sort of grandfather statute, but that “the trees will have to go.”
The process is much more difficult than cutting a few trees down, said Kehne. The entire root ball must be removed and the remaining hole must be filled and compacted with an approved soil mixture. The task is further complicated by regulations that do not allow heavy machinery to be driven over the floodwall or come in contact with water.
Kehne told commissioners that the city also needs to devise a flood evacuation plan. FEMA recommendations are that Taylorsville be evacuated any time flood waters reach six feet below the top of the levee. Kehne said that the Salt River has reached that stage twice since 2007. In 1997, flood waters came within three feet of flowing over the wall.
In other city commission news:
Harold Compton, director of public works, informed city commissioners of a mass mailing to Taylorsville Water Works customers about a report of low disinfectant residual during the months of August, September and October 2008. Compton said this typically occurs during hot summer months and requires no action by customers.
“When we get water from Louisville, the residual is already low. It’s just a domino effect,” said Compton.
Compton said the condition primarily affects the southern portion of the county and that the only remedy is to flush the lines and keep water moving. The drawback to this method is that residents in the area will notice a significant drop in the amount of water flowing through their lines.
City Treasurer Randy McConnell told commissioners that from January through December 2008, the occupational license tax generated $175,000 in revenue. Of which, $40,276 had been spent on tree removal and street/sidewalk repairs.
Actions approved by the Taylorsville City Commission:
• Provide payment of $1,703 to cover the city’s portion of Welcome Center expenses. From September 2008 to February 2009, the Welcome Center had expenses totaling $5,108. Agreements were reached that the city and county would each fund $1,703, while the Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Commission would each fund $851.50.
• Commissioners approved to fund the Main Street manager’s salary at the same rate for the next six months.
• Commissioners approved a motion to allow Taylorsville Police Department to discuss the option of putting a radio system on one of the water department’s water towers.