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 As expected heavy rains today especially parts of Jefferson and Orange Counties as deep tropical moisture continues to move north along with upper level disturbances. A break possible tonight before more storms again toward daybreak Sunday. True tropical air in place so some will be heavy once again early Sunday. Some drier air ...


Washington Times

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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Bridge City Mayor says appealing FEMA flood maps still crucial

BRIDGE CITY - by Lauren Huet

Bridge City is planning on extending several bonds to help pay for its appeal of FEMA's new flood maps, which put 80 percent of the city in a flood zone. Under the old flood plain maps, only about 30 percent of the city is in a flood zone. The new flood maps are part of the Biggert Waters Act, which greatly increased flood insurance rates.

In March, President Obama signed new legislation amending and repealing parts of the Biggert Waters Act, in order to make insurance more affordable. Even so, Bridge City Mayor Kirk Roccaforte says it's crucial to appeal the flood maps.

Bridge City Councilman Robert Simonton remembers what happened to his home during Hurricane Ike.

"You couldn't see the gutters on the eaves of my house," said Simonton. "So, that's roughly about 8 foot."

However, he says that's the only time this house, which was built in 1953, has flooded.

"I don't think it will flood like that again," said Simonton. "It's been 60 something, 70 years the house has been here and it's flooded once. [Ike] was just an unusual storm."

The Biggert Waters Act of 2012 hadn't been amended this year, it would have made Simonton's flood insurance unaffordable.

"Over a 5 year period I was looking at it going from the current $2,600 a year to $14,400 a year for the same coverage," said Simonton.

Bridge City Mayor Kirk Roccaforte says it's still important to appeal FEMA's new flood maps, which would raise base flood elevation for much of the city.

"If you're going to build a home, the base flood elevation makes a whole big difference as to the height of the slab of the home and the rates they're going to have to pay for insurance," said Roccaforte.

The new FEMA flood maps were put on hold when Bridge City filed an appeal with FEMA December 24, 2013. Under the current Bridge City flood maps, the base flood elevation is 8 feet. Under the new FEMA flood maps, the new base flood elevation would be as high as 12 feet in some parts of the city.

"I'd have to be at 11 foot, so you're talking about an additional five foot of height from where we're at right now, you're probably talking about my house would have to be built up to here," said Simonton, pointing to a wall of his home.

Mayor Roccaforte says the new legislation amending the Biggert Waters Act gives relief to homeowners, not to commercial property owners, so the new flood maps are still a problem.

"If its not a homesteaded property it would make that properties flood insurance not even affordable," said Roccaforte.

Roccaforte says appealing the maps is necessary to keep the city growing. The City of Bridge City Council will vote on extending the bonds June 3rd. Roccaforte says they would extend the bonds three years, which would raise 1.2 million dollars to pay for the appeal and the engineering firm the city hired to draw new maps.


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