FEMA meets with Craighead Co. to discuss flood zones

FEMA meets with Craighead Co. to discuss flood zones

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - FEMA was in town Thursday going over the flood zone in Craighead County.

Leaders in Craighead as well as FEMA met to go over removing areas of Bay from the flood zone as well as an overall re mapping of Craighead county flood maps.

Mayor of Bay, Darrell Kirby said "It can't get no worse for Bay."

Mayor Kirby said that their whole community is located in a flood plain which causes problems through high insurance premiums to stunting the towns growth and Kirby said that flooding isn't even an issue in his community.

Kirby said, "we

have a total since, there's 243 policies of flood insurance in Bay, and the city of Bay has paid 22,339,500 dollars, in flood insurance policies there in Bay and the total payout since the 70's has been 10,000 dollars."

Mayor Kirby said data from the original flood plain study is now outdated because the area has changed since the data came out in 1977.

This outdated data isn't just a problem in Bay either.  It comes up as a problem in the whole county said County judge assistant Tony Thomas.

Thomas said that it is important for the maps to be updated to lift the majority of the flood plains in the areas and bring more funds to the county.

Thomas said, "The funds that are being paid to the federal government for flood insurance become funds that can be used here."

While the change in the flood plain will help many with insurance premiums, it will affect others negatively, said John Bourdeau with FEMA.

Bourdeau said, "There may be some challenges with some of the community that might end up in the flood plane that's not."

Thomas said that it is worth the risk for the study though because it will be funded by FEMA, creating a "win, win" scenario for the county.

Thomas said, "By talking with FEMA today and allowing them to utilize there funding to conduct this restudy it actually moves us forward with new data that the local communities nor the county will have to make an investment of their local funds for."

It may take up to a month for the funding to come through to FEMA to start the new study for the flood plain maps, and then another 18 months for the data discovered in the study to go into effect.  Mayor Kirby said that even though it will take awhile for the study to go through, it will be worth the wait. 

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