(Sidney) — Fremont County emergency management officials are urging the City of Sidney to participate in a flood insurance program.
During its regular meeting Monday night, Sidney City Council received a brief presentation from Fremont County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Kretzelius about the National Flood Insurance Program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The city does not currently participate in the program, which provides insurance through a network of more than 50 insurance companies and NFIP Direct. Contrary to popular belief, Kretzelius says that if the city receives a significant amount of rainfall, several areas in Sydney will be prone to flooding.
“The last time I was here, they had a goose that drowned in northeast Iowa, and there were places that had never flooded before, but they did because of the heavy rains,” Kretzelius said. “Well the courthouse sits on top of a hill, right? If we get something like that here, West Street is very likely to flood and down just past Heritage Terrace, where there was a flood ditch down there when my parents had their garden down there, on the east side of that, that ditch is no longer there. So this area could be prone to flooding.”
He adds that while working for the county’s emergency management agency, Draper Drive has also been a problem repeatedly in terms of flooding. However, he says participating in the program is free for the city.
“All it takes to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program is to apply to the (Department of Natural Resources) and FEMA and issue an ordinance,” Kretzelius said. “All you have to do is write an ordinance and put some prerequisites for every new building or something.”
Kretzelius adds that the participation has nothing to do with a possible tax increase and says that because the city does not participate in the program, FEMA and DNR can withhold disaster funds for the entire city.
However, Crecelius explained that participating in the program can facilitate homeowners’ ability to obtain flood insurance — which can be difficult to achieve with standard home insurance.
“That makes them eligible to buy flood insurance if they want, fine, but if you don’t participate and someone wants to buy flood insurance, they can’t do it through the NFIP program,” Kretzelius said. “The majority of homeowner’s insurance does not cover flooding. I’m just saying that because there’s a lot of people who think I’m going to have insurance – it’s covered – well, no, it doesn’t cover flooding.’
Kretzelius encouraged the council to take a closer look at the program to ensure the benefits to its citizens in the event of a disaster.
“It would benefit some people within the city limits, and your job is to take care of the people within the city limits,” Kretzelius said. “In fact, Sidney is the only city in Fremont County, the last time I checked, that doesn’t participate in the NFIP program.”
Sydney Mayor Ken Brown says he has received the necessary documents for the city to participate in the NFIP program, including the application and sample ordinance.
In other matters, the council…
–I received an update from City Engineer Steve Perry on the water system improvements project, including the final steps of the water meter installation and well project.
–Opened the sole bid from Oldcastle Materials Midwest for over $211,000 for the Clay Street paving project.
–Approved Change Order #1 for $1,200, Payment Request #. 1 for $20,018.40 and payment of request no. 2 for $1,053.60 to Kerns Excavating Company for storm sewer improvements on Douglas Street.
–Approved payment request no. 2 for $1596.95 to R and R Concrete for gazebo site improvements.
–Approved hiring of Joe Travis at $15 per hour to work part-time as needed.