Engineers Blame FEMA Errors For Flood Insurance Costs In Hornellsville

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(Top photo: Jimmie Joe Carl, photo below: Shaun Gannon. 

July 14, 2015

HORNELLSVILLE, NY – A presentation was given to the town of Hornellsville board on Tuesday night. The lead engineer hired by the town ,Jimmie Joe Carl began the discussion.   Carl explained that there were problems with the older flood maps, and that Bergmann Associates, being experienced in dealing with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, had a lot of experience with FEMA.  “FEMA will be the ones that pretty much dictate whether we can change the flood maps or not,” Carl explained to the Hornellsville Town Board.  After speaking for a few minutes, Carl then turned it over to Shaun Gannon from Bergmann Associates.

Gannon explained that FEMA is in error about the amount of land currently included in the flood plain.  He presented a revised map. “This is an error that FEMA should have corrected years ago,” Gannon said. He also complained that because of the high cost of flood insurance, it was a terrible burden on businesses.

According to Gannon, almost all parcels except for a select few, will be excluded from the flood zone. He noted that this should create a drastic decrease in in flood insurance premiums for properties partially affected and most properties originally included in outdated maps will now completely be excluded.

There were a few concerned property owners in attendance including Jane Karlstan, owner of the K-Mart plaza, Barry Walsh of ATM, and Matt Testani, owner of the Hornell Bowl.

After the presentation everyone was in agreement that the redrawn map is a huge improvement that will save property owners thousands of dollars, in the long run.

The next step in the process is for Bergmann & Associates along with the Hornellsville Town Board to submit a formal letter to FEMA, requesting the changes suggested by Bergman.

Officials say that FEMA will have 90 days to respond. Gannon insisted that the high cost of flood insurance is due to a FEMA error and there should not be any charges to local taxpayers for a study.