Spencer County chamber learns sobering truth on floodwall

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by WILLIAM B. CARROLL, Spencer Magnet Editor
The Spencer County Chamber of Commerce got involved in the city’s ongoing levee issue with the help of Mark Viera of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and representatives of the Kentucky Division of Water.Todd Powers with KDW said the levee surrounding the city of Taylorsville was provisionally approved in 2008 as part of a provisionally accredited levee agreement. Powers also told those gathered at the chamber offices downtown that the agreement expired in 2010 and that the levee has never been recertified. Powers said that eventually FEMA will redraw the maps for the levee and the city will lose its current Zone X certification and be reclassified as Zone A. According to Powers, Zone A certification could bring significantly higher flood insurance premiums, especially those carrying mortgages on their properties.
Powers gave an example of a $200,000 commercial property with $50,000 in contents coverage. At one foot below base flood elevation $2,300 in annual flood insurance in Zone X jumps to $4,157 in Zone A. Similarly a residential property with the same coverage rates would increase from $1,400 to $2,100.Powers said the majority of the city of Taylorsville is approximately 7 to 8 feet below base flood elevation. This fact would result in significantly higher premiums across the board, according to Powers.
“My advice to the city and levee board is to proceed as if those new maps will become effective within the next two years,” Powers said.Viera reiterated that the city and levee commission’s PAL agreement expired in 2010 and that while FEMA had not acted to redraw the maps they would do so eventually.
This led to several questions from meeting participants as to what the city could or should do in order to prevent the levee from being remapped as a Zone A area.Carey Johnson with KDW explained that FEMA is simply looking for an engineering report which certifies the requirements under 44 Code of Federal Regulations. Spencer County Levee, Flood Control and Drainage District No. 1 president Mike Driscoll said the levee commission has been trying to come up with the money to pay for an engineering study, which he estimates will cost somewhere between $150,000 and $200,000. Driscoll said that the levee commission raised rates over 800 percent in order to raise funds for the study. He added that the commission has approximately $50,000 in reserve and is looking to procure loans to help with the cost.