WINNSBORO — Fairfield County administration has begun researching ways to counter the proposed increases of flood plain insurance.
Recent federal legislation has been passed, which would increase premiums for flood insurance.
The legislation that has been proposed will remove the subsidies and the cost will be passed on to the homeowners at an astronomical cost.
“There was an outcry across the country because the new maps that FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) have drawn,” interim County Administrator Milton Pope said.
Homeowners living near bodies of water will be more exposed and under the flood insurance program, those premiums will no longer be subsidized federally.
Pope acknowledged that effect has reverberated in Fairfield County communities.
“For us in the county we brought in Lisa Jones to assist us in drafting and RFQ,” he noted. “But also from a county structure standpoint, we are using her expertise to look at our building permits and approval process to make sure when properties are permitted people will have the information up front to know if their in a flood zone areas. From a structural standpoint we’re trying to make sure that people clearly know before they build what the impact will be.”
County staff has been in discussions with Kershaw County about the potential of partnering up for a flood study for Lake Wateree.
“Our staffs have had those discussions where we are working collaboratively to draft an RFQ (request for a quotation) to propose a flood study,” Pope told council.
Once the RFQ is submitted, Pope advised that he would be coming back to council with the information.
The study would not only consist of Lake Wateree, but the tributaries that feed into it as well.
“The goal of this flood study is to lower the base flood elevation of Lake Wateree,” Pope advised. “Therefore there would like reductions in the premiums of flood insurance for those people who are close in proximity to Lake Wateree or the surrounding tributaries.”
Pope said council would be updated as the process moves forward and any costs necessary to be expended would be brought back to council for approval.
Councilwoman Carolyn Robinson (District 2) expressed her concern regarding the increased premiums for flood insurance.
She noted that Lake Wateree residents would not be the only people affected by the increase in flood insurance.
“That (Lake Wateree) is not the only section in the county that is affected,” Robinson stated. “We’ve recently done a closing for a property in the Greenbrier section, which I don’t think has a river running through it, they are required to have flood insurance because the study has said they’re in a flood zone.”
She continued to advise residents that they would not know if they are required to purchase flood insurance until you buy home or refinance.
“That’s when you’re going to find out (if you’re required to purchase flood insurance),” Robinson said. “If you don’t buy it, then the companies are going to buy it for you and you’re still going to pay for it in your monthly payment.”