(TNS) - U.S. Rep. William Keating has proposed legislation that would encourage communities to create regional partnerships and share the cost of flood mitigation tailored to their needs.
Keating, D-Bourne, Mass.,drafted the Community Flood Insurance Savings Act to allow communities to sharing the costs of participation in the National Flood Insurance Program's Community Rating System and hiring regional program coordinators.
The Community Rating System is a voluntary incentive program that encourages communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program to pursue flood mitigation. Policyholders receive discounts on their flood insurance premiums when their communities go above and beyond in their efforts to reduce flood damage.
In doing this, communities must take a comprehensive approach to floodplain management. But Keating said small communities often can't afford the time or expense of coordinating Community Rating System program compliance
Many communities that participate in the Community Rating System designate their building commissioner as the coordinator. In Scituate, Nancy Durfee serves as the town's coordinator through her role as the coastal resource officer.
The bill would allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide grants for regional groups to hire a shared coordinator for the program.
"This legislation will encourage these communities to form area-wide partnerships, apply for resources to support regional-level coordinators who will manage the CRS program for each of the towns in these partnerships, and ultimately, work together on cost-saving mitigation projects to qualify their residents for discounted rates on their flood insurance premiums," he said in a statement. "These savings can be difference makers for families trying to afford their first home and for new businesses hoping to open their doors to their neighbors."
Keating said Barnstable County pursued this model two years ago and hired a regional Community Rating System coordinator. Shannon Jarbeau, the regional coordinator, has helped four towns maintain their discount. Three towns have since joined the system, and four more towns have started the application process. Keating said residents in several towns are already saving 10 percent on their premiums.
Jessica Trufant may be reached at email@example.com.
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