Some of the problems that our office solves has to do with the national flood insurance program for the citizens of Tangipahoa Parish.
If your property is located in a special flood hazard area and you have a federally-backed loan, so most oftentimes a mortgage, flood insurance is a requirement, both federal and state law. How they determine what your insurance premium is is risk rating, so they’re going to look at what’s known as an elevation certificate. That’s a document that tells you what the finished floor height of your structure is compared to what the regulatory height that’s required by FEMA through the national flood insurance program. Those documents can be kind of complex if you’re not intimately familiar with them, which we are. We have three certified floodplain managers on staff in our department that can go through these documents, talk about what compliance is, look at things like grandfathering, look at mitigation activities. And again, those activities aren’t always elevating a structure, sometimes it’s flood-proofing, sometimes it’s flood venting.
There’s a lot of different ways to achieve compliance, but sometimes it does necessitate mitigation and that’s one thing Tangipahoa Parish does well. We enroll lots of properties and grants, and again, those grant opportunities are elevations, they’re sometimes acquisitions, and time to time, they’re what’s known as pilot reconstruction where it’s a tear down and a rebuild when FEMA does allow that and when funding’s available for that.
So the changes we expect to see, the national flood insurance program is in the middle of a transition right now. That program is reauthorized every five years, and Congress is in the process of reauthorizing that. We don’t know exactly what that’s going to look like yet, but we do keep very up to date on that legislation to see what’s coming down the pipe and what we need to enforce on the local level to make sure that we’re compliant with the national flood insurance program so that our citizens can get flood insurance, federally-backed loans, disaster aid, all of those things that are critical for any community.