Representatives from FEMA, Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon’s office and the Louisiana Protection and Restoration Authority will join state and local officials at a town hall meeting on Monday on the proposed FEMA flood maps.
Representatives from several federal legislators will also be in attendance. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on April 15 at the Hahnville High School auditorium.
Confirmed attendees so far include representation from the offices of Sen. Mary Landrieu, Sen. David Vitter, Congressman Cedric Richmond, Congressman Bill Cassidy and Louisiana state Sen. Gary Smith. Parish President V.J. St. Pierre and members of the St. Charles Parish Council will lead the meeting.
Residents will not be allowed to have an open dialogue with the officials in attendance. Instead, they will fill out a card before the meeting with any question they have and officials will group similar questions together and answer them at the end of the meeting.
While attendees will be able to submit general issue-related questions for the panel before the meeting, residents may also submit questions online ahead of time using the form located at www.scpfloodmaps.com. Any questions about individual property issues will be forwarded to the appropriate agency and answered outside of the town hall format, according to parish spokeswoman Renee Simpson.
The new maps released by FEMA could drastically increase insurance rates for many on the West Bank. At a recent FEMA open house, some residents in Bayou Gauche were told their rates could increase to nearly $20,000 a year.
The introduction of the FEMA maps also coincides with the expiration of grandfathered rates contained in the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.
At the meeting, residents will be presented with information relating to map impacts, the adoption process and short and long term action items being taken by local, state and federal officials and agencies.
The meeting will begin with a welcome and introduction of elected officials and agency representatives followed by an overview and history of the flood insurance rate maps and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Presentations will discuss map adoption options, NFIP options and federal response to the Biggert-Waters Act. The presentations will conclude with a long-term outlook on the West Bank levee system, map appeal and elevation assistance.
Residents can visit www.scpfloodmaps.com to find a downloadable ‘action sheet’ they can use to learn about the flood map issue, along with parish actions and steps they can take to make their opinions known. Detailed flood map information is available for St. Charles Parish residents at www.riskmap6.com.