Sikeston accepts FEMA flood maps
Thursday, June 7, 2012
SIKESTON, Mo. -- The Sikeston City Council has picked what appears to be the lesser of two evils: accepting the Federal Emergency Management Agency's new flood plain maps.
Council members approved an amended version of a bill accepting the maps during their regular monthly meeting Tuesday.
Chuck Leible, city counselor, said the amended version includes a new section that makes it clear the city continues to object to the new flood zone designations.
The new section also notes a lack of proper notification and questions the accuracy of FEMA's new flood plain maps.
While city officials are disputing the designation of some additional areas of Sikeston as being in flood zones, particularly land on the Sikeston ridge, not approving FEMA's new maps would result in some severe repercussions for Sikeston property owners and those with mortgages on properties within flood zones.
Sikeston resident Josh Bill questioned whether it would really be a waste of money as he believes FEMA failed to follow some of its procedures and that during a conference call heard a FEMA official admit to that failure.
As of Tuesday afternoon, "they did not and do not admit they did not follow procedure," Leible said. "I'm not saying they're right; I'm saying what their position is."
"We have to OK this today or we know what is going to happen," Mayor Jerry Pullen said.
Pullen said the city may have to take some action on this issue in the future, however.
City manager Doug Friend said U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson is working for an accelerated map revision process in which engineers rebut the findings of FEMA's mapping contractor.
The accelerated review should take 30 to 60 days, Friend said.
His vote to approve the maps was made "with great reservation," Bohannon said, leaving a "terribly foul taste in my mouth."
"It does for all of us," Pullen said.
"We will certainly explore any and all options" to find relief for the city, Friend assured.
Among those, city officials will look at map revisions which take large tracts of land out of flood zones, he said.