Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Federal Government Killing All River Villages and So Much History With It

As you may have garnered from our past posts, we love the Ohio River and all the little villages and hamlets found along the shores. These Villages are rife with history, including tales of unparalleled bravery and courage. Many of the Ohio River villages and towns were born out of the revolution and fostered the early inventions that have led our country to greatness. However, in light of recent congressional changes to the National Flood Insurance Policy program, these same important villages, towns and hamlets have been issued a potential death warrant.

Congress, in apparent response to the losses incurred from Hurricane Sandy and Katrina, passed legislation in 2012 changing the game (mid-game) regarding flood insurance. That is, while the mystery remains on how policy premiums are calculated, the Feds decided that premiums will increase 8-10x per household/business. A policy costing $600 may cost upwards of $6,000 or more per year. This was done with no apparent concern over the people who have been working to revive the economies of such historical villages or the overall economic vitality of such locations. While we have been told by river town business owners that the cost of flood insurance was factored in the early decision to locate a business, now Congress has changed the game AFTER the money has been spent.

Interestingly, and amongst many failures, the amendments to the Flood Insurance Program make no accommodations for premium costs for historical buildings. Instead, any owner of such building with a mortgage, has no choice but  to pay the exorbitant costs being charged for the program policy. The result is that every owner of property in a flood zone has seen a dramatic "taking" of its property value by the Federal Government. Unless someone has cash to buy a property, the odds of selling property in a flood zone (saddled with mandated expensive policies) has been significantly impacted. In many instances, it may simply be that historical buildings along rivers such as the Ohio will disappear over time as the Federal Government plays games with vital programs like the Flood Insurance Program. Here is a link to the FEMA website that identifies the scope of the Biggert Waters Act of 2012:
Legislation passed in the Senate in late January 2014 to delay implementation of the dramatic premium increases, and we still await confirmation by the Congress on whether it agrees that a delay (and rework) is needed.

As with other legislation, it is unquestioned  that the unintended consequences of the Biggert Waters Act of 2012 is devastating to so many of our historical river cities. Congress needs to step up and fix this alleged "quick fix" legislation that is causing such harm to so many.....

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