County commissioners, floodplain manager discuss new ordinance

Friday, June 17, 2011

During its regular meeting Thursday, Cape Girardeau County commissioners met with county floodplain manager Stan Murray to ask questions about a recently signed ordinance designed to ensure the county remains eligible to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program.

The program makes federally backed flood insurance available to residents in the county as long as there is an ordinance aimed at reducing risk to any person or business who puts value into property located in a floodplain. Cape Girardeau County's ordinance, which will go into effect in September, requires a permit for any proposed development or construction in the floodplain, and grants the county the authority to impose a $500 fine if a building inspected by the county floodplain manager does not meet guidelines.

Murray said buildings in a floodplain that fall within the county lines but out of city limits that are substantially damaged during a flood and are rebuilt would be subject to inspection.

Murray reviewed floodplain maps for the county and said after the meeting that in his best estimate 5 percent of Cape Girardeau County is in a "special flood hazard area," or 100-year floodplain. Most of the area included is in the county's east side along the Mississippi River and in the south end of the county. Other smaller areas are along the county's creeks.

Talk of flooding led commissioner Jay Purcell to ask Murray about future possibilities for a federal buyout of property in Dutchtown.

Murray explained that since Dutchtown is incorporated, residents and Dutchtown officials would have to take certain steps to qualify and have funds ready for matching. A buyout in Dutchtown would require a petition from residents and local government, pre-flood appraisals, a feasibility study and the village to pay 25 cents on every dollar from the federal government.

Purcell said he wants to contact the Dutchtown Board of Trustees about the matter. He said the county is involved because during flood events it's the county that makes sure there is road access and emergency services to Dutchtown.

"By us not sending clear signals to what we expect, that is empowering them to do nothing," he said.

Dutchtown residents see one major problem.

"The key issue for Dutchtown is we don't have the money," said Doyle Parmer, Dutchtown's clerk. He said Angie Crutsinger, chairwoman of the Dutchtown Board of Trustees, has contacted SEMA's state hazard mitigation officer, and has arranged with the officer to visit and speak with the board and residents about a possible buyout.

Crutsinger said it would be hard to set an amount on what Dutchtown would be responsible for, but if she were to guess, she would also say Dutchtown doesn't have the money to match funds. She said residents have shown interest in a buyout by asking questions, and she has given them as much information as she can, but she would rather they hear it firsthand from SEMA.

Other action

Cape Girardeau County Clerk Kara Clark Summers asked the commission to approve a motion to allow the Cape Girardeau County Board of Equalization to convene July 7 due to the July 4 holiday and extend appeal deadline to July 11. The motion was approved.

A motion was accepted to move into a closed session regarding personnel.

eragan@semissourian.com

243-6635

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