Beaufort County Pays while Commissioners Fiddle
If you live in Beaufort County or any other northeastern North Carolina County about 95 percent of you are paying more for flood insurance that your should. There are people who are paying as much as six thousand dollars per year for flood insurance who will not even be in the flood zone when the new maps are approved. Efforts made by t he Federal Government to make the FEMA flood program financially self supporting are driving rates. The Federal plan is to increase rates every year until the program does not have to be subsidized by the Federal Government.
We have somewhat of a windfall advantage in Eastern North Carolina. The base flood level, the hazard level, in Northeastern North Carolina is based on a flood that happened in 1913. The hazard level is based on the 100 year flood. Well, 2013 came and went, and during that 100 year period of time we never had a flood as bad as the 1913 flood. The procedure is to set a new hazard flood level based on the actual history of flooding during the past 100 years.
The "proposed" new flood maps have been out for at least three years. They drop the base flood elevation as much as four feet in Washington and a proportional amounts in rising water zones over the entire county. There are a few exceptions, because of local obstacles to water flow. One of those is the Iron Creek Subdivision located just west of Washington.
My personal estimate is there are about five million dollars of excess premiums now being paid in Beaufort County.
In theory the new rates should have been used in 2013. We are now six years late. Why? There is not a good explanation other than foot dragging and inefficiency in both the Federal and State Governments. I request a report from the county manager during every month's commissioner's meeting. The August report was that nothing has changed and "government officials" believe we could have the maps in about 6 months. This is about the same report we have received for the past two years.
Everyone paying flood insurance is being ripped off.
I will be making a motion at the September Commissioners meeting for Beaufort to join with surrounding counties to form a lobby group to go to Raleigh and Washington DC to meet with whatever elected officials and bureaucrats our lobbyist direct in a effort to break up this log jam and get the new maps released.
Upon release the county commissioners can approve the maps and the new rates can take hold. We will be asking for the maps to be released and the new rates to be set. That will reduce premiums significantly and put five million dollars in circulation in Beaufort County. Our neighboring counties will save similar amounts.
All persons paying flood insurance should start talking to your commissioners about joining into a lobby group to correct this injustice.