LAKE CHARLES, LA. (KPLC) -It's been years in the works but finally Calcasieu Police Jurors have adopted new flood maps. It means some residents will now need to buy flood insurance.
it's a process that began back in 2003 and one that made some twists and turns due in no small part to Hurricanes Rita and Ike. Basically the flood maps are required by FEMA for the parish to participate in the federal flood insurance program. They set forth which areas are likely to flood and affect building elevation requirements along with who has to buy flood insurance.
Flood Plain Administrator Pam Mattingly says they've notified some residents who will now need flood insurance. "If their property has changed then they will need to go ahead and purchase flood insurance on their homes. The parish has sent out over 2500 letters to residents in the unincorporated area to inform them that their property has changed from a low risk zone to a high risk zone so they'll be aware to contact their insurance agent."
Police jurors have on more than occasion expressed frustration with FEMA and Federal red tape... They asked whether residents who disagree with the placement of their land or structure can appeal. Said Police Juror Dennis Scott, "In the new flood zones there are areas that have never flooded but their now in the flood zone or maybe they're on a boundary. Are there ways for people to take just their area out of the flood zone?"
Explained Mattingly, "There are, they're called letter of map amendments or letter of map revisions and we assisted many people throughout the years on doing that."
Mattingly says the Calcasieu Planning Office is happy to help people with individual appeals. She says the process usually takes about two months and is often successful.
The parish's flood maps can be viewed on the parish's web site. For a link click here.
Also tonight jurors adopted the budget for next year. The $161 million dollar spending plan is balanced though it is about 10% smaller than it was this year-- due in part to declining sales tax revenues. The budget includes no cost of living pay raise for employees next year.
Also tonight police jurors renewed their contract with Louisiana wildlife and fisheries which helps them with litter enforcement. Over the last couple of years parish officials have worked to crack down on littering in Calcasieu through a public awareness campaign and stepped up enforcement.
Jason Barnes, who's in charge of the program, says it's been a great success. He says of some 30 enforcement actions in court, only one was thrown out for lack of evidence. Their slogan is You litter you pay: you can't afford to be trashy in Calcasieu Parish. They'll be looking for opportunities to expand the program next year.