Senators to FEMA: Conduct map modernization in Livingston
Baucus, Tester Push for FEMA Review of Park County Maps
(Washington D.C.) Montana’s U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester are pushing the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) to speed up the Flood Insurance Rate Map Modernization process for the City of Livingston and Park County.
“Getting Livingston’s maps up-to-date as quickly as possible is important,” Baucus said. “FEMA has the tools to provide a timeline to the City of Livingston for how long the remainder of the map modernization process will take and the citizens of Livingston deserves these answers now.”
“No Montanans should be subject to higher insurance rates just because of outdated maps and delays by a federal bureaucracy,” Tester said. “We want to make sure FEMA hears us loud and clear when we say it’s time to step up with a clear timeline and better plans for folks in Livingston.”
In a letter, Baucus and Tester pressed FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate to provide Livingston with not only a timeline for the agency’s map modernization project, but also with a list of options available to expedite the process and options residents have to secure reimbursements for additional flood insurance costs caused by FEMA’s delays.
“This is about keeping our maps up-to-date without putting Livingston’s bottom line at risk,” Baucus said. “I stand ready to help Montana’s communities get funds they need to make the upgrades FEMA might recommend; however, it is up to FEMA to get this process started.”
The City of Livingston submitted its proposed flood maps to FEMA in May of 2008 and has spent considerable resources making changes and corrections to proposed maps. A longer delay in this process could mean a negative impact on property values and city development planning – including the planning for a new city hospital.
“Max and I are working hard to make sure folks in Livingston don't get the short end of the stick," Tester said. "We have to make sure our communities have the most up-to-date information and are well insured and well protected from flooding.”
The Letter is included below:
Dear Administrator Fugate:
We write to express our concern about FEMA’s Flood Insurance Rate Map Modernization process for the City of Livingston and Park County.
After a nearly year-long delay, FEMA has yet to provide a timeline to the City of Livingston for how long the remainder of the map modernization process will take. This uncertainty places an enormous burden on property owners and city and county planners. As you know, FEMA’s flood plain maps will impact Livingston’s property values and city development planning—including the planning for a new city hospital.
The City of Livingston submitted its proposed flood maps to FEMA in May of 2008. The city then invested considerable time and local tax dollars to make changes to the proposed maps, and hired an engineering firm at an expense of $270,000 to make corrections to a map produced by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Last year, the City of Livingston anticipated the beginning of the adoption process for new flood maps. As this process has not yet begun, FEMA should at least provide the City of Livingston more information about the future of the flood map modernization process.
- Please provide a detailed list of options are available to expedite the map update process for Livingston and Park County and an explanation of how those options are or are not being utilized.
- Please provide a timeline for the completion of the map modernization process for Livingston and Park County.
- Please explain what options are available to property owners in Livingston and Park County to secure reimbursement for the additional flood insurance costs they paid due to FEMA’s delays during this process.
FEMA’s Flood Map Modernization Program continues to affect a large number of small, rural communities in vastly different ways. In many cases, these communities are struggling economically. In all of these cases, the affected communities will benefit from the increased certainty of an accurate and complete timeline, as well as a clear understanding of the process used in the map modernization process.
We look forward to a response at your earliest convenience.
Senator Max Baucus
Senator Jon Tester