Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A big, watery egg on their faces

Well this doesn't sound good:
Property owners who had their homes swept away or destroyed as Lake Delton flooded its banks won't be covered by national flood insurance because the Village of Lake Delton had suspended its participation in the National Flood Insurance Program.


The director of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' Bureau of Water Management said that the village had been a participating member in the NFIP since 1975, but failed to formally adopt a new floodplain the Federal Emergency Management Agency mapped in 2001. So the village had its eligibility canceled.


The program is voluntary and any community can participate and sign up at any time. If a new map comes out, local officials have to formally adopt that new map within six months. However, Lake Delton officials didn't, WISC-TV reported.

When WISC-TV asked the village president why the village wasn't signed up for the FEMA flood insurance program, he flatly said he "won't answer that question."

Village Board president Frank Kaminski refused to answer any questions, and said WISC-TV should talk to the police chief.

Police Chief Thomas Dorner and the city engineer said the village had a problem with the FEMA's expansion of Lake Delton's flood zone, which can make building much more costly.

So far, village officials have pointed to a lack of flooding problems in the past as reasons for why the village wasn't signed up for the FEMA flood insurance program.
I mentioned before my suspicions about poor planning and how we need to be more cautious about where and how we build our homes and businesses. This makes it obvious, too, that village officials (at least) knew about the floodplain and decided, possibly because they thought it would scare developers away because of costs, to forgo the flood insurance plan.

Now those property owners effected by the flooding are left without insurance, kicking themselves for listening to officials who told them "'[Flooding] would never happen. It's never happened and we have control on both ends of the lake with dams and you're fine."

Again, I recognize that it's impossible to know if and when disasters like this one are going to happen. But when your community lies in a documented floodplain, and despite the dams, it would be wise to plan for the worst and hope for the best, rather than just hoping and planning for the best.

Please consider helping flood victims out in any way you can. See the American Red Cross in Wisconsin's website for contact info.


M Big Mistake said...

Yeah...when I heard that the people didn't have flood insurance, I thought they were stupid. Then I found out that they couldn't get it because of the village. Granted, I still don't think I'd buy a house on a lake without flood insurance...but I can see why people would just accept it when "the authorities" told them they didn't need it.

But geez...stupid, stupid, stupid.

I am a strong believer in human ingenuity and engineering...but for us ever to think that we can overcome nature's will is just arrogant and wrong.

John Foust said...

I predict it was not done in order to save a few thousand dollars, in the hopes of lowering taxes.

The Lost Albatross