Sydney Council discusses National Flood Insurance Scheme | news

(Sidney) — Fremont County Emergency Management officials are asking the City of Sydney to participate in a flood insurance program.

During its regular session Monday night, Sydney City Council received a brief presentation from Fremont County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Crecelius on the national flood insurance program operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Currently, the city does not participate in the program, which offers insurance through a network of more than 50 insurance companies and NFIP Direct. Contrary to popular belief, Crecelius says that several areas in Sidney would be at risk of flooding if the city received a significant amount of rain.

“The last time I was here, they had a goose drinker up in northeastern Iowa, and there were places that had never been flooded before that were flooded because of the torrential rains,” Crecelius said. “Well, the courthouse is on a hill, isn’t it? If we get something like that here there is a strong possibility that West Street will be flooded and just beyond Heritage Terrace where there used to be a flood ditch when my parents were down there had their garden down there on the east side of that is that ditch not here anymore. So this area could be prone to flooding.”

He adds that during his tenure with the county’s emergency management agency, Draper Drive has also had a number of flooding issues. However, participation in the program is free for the city.

“To join the National Flood Insurance Program, all you have to do is apply to the[Department of Natural Resources]and FEMA and issue a regulation,” Crecelius said. “All you have to do is write an ordinance and set some requirements for a new building or something.”

Crecelius adds that participation has nothing to do with a potential tax hike and says if the city doesn’t participate in the program, FEMA and DNR could withhold disaster funds from the entire city.

However, Crecelius explained that participating in the program could make it easier for homeowners to get flood insurance – which can be hard to come by with standard household insurance.

“This allows them to get flood insurance if they want, okay, but if you’re not participating and someone wants to get flood insurance, they can’t do that through the NFIP program,” Crecelius said. “Most home insurance policies don’t cover flooding. I’m just saying that because there are a lot of people who think we have insurance – it’s covered – well, no, it doesn’t cover flooding.”

Crecelius encouraged the council to continue examining the program to provide benefits to its citizens in the event of a disaster.

“That would benefit some people within the city limits, and your job is to take care of the people in the city limits,” Crecelius said. “In fact, last time I checked, Sydney is the only city in Fremont County that didn’t participate in the NFIP program.”

Sydney Mayor Ken Brown said he received the necessary documents to get the city’s participation in the NFIP program rolling, including the application and a model ordinance.

On other matters, the Council…

–Received an update from City Engineer Steve Perry on the water system improvement project, including the final steps of installing water meters and a well project.

–Opened Oldcastle Materials Midwest’s $211,000 single bid for the Clay Street Paving Project.

–Approved change order no. 1 for $1,200, requisition #1 for $20,018.40 and requisition #2 for $1,053.60 to Kerns Excavating Company for Douglas Street Storm Sewer Improvements.

–Approved Request for Payment #2 for $1,596.95 to R and R Concrete for Gazebo Site Improvements.

– Approved hiring Joe Travis at $15 an hour for part-time work as needed.

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