Owensboro and Daviess County residents with flood insurance benefit from a federal program that involves local officials working to reduce flood damage, and educating the public about flood insurance and how they can help reduce flooding in exchange for a discount on flood insurance premiums.

The committee that oversees the voluntary program is hoping federal officials will give the city and county a larger discount in the near future, which would mean a bigger discount for flood insurance holders.

Vicky Connor, a planner for Daviess County Emergency Management, said contractors from the Federal Emergency Management Agency recently conducted a five-year inspection to see how the community is faring in FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System program.

FEMA offers flood insurance to communities that meet minimum floodplain management standards. Cities and counties that go beyond the minimum in the Community Rating System program, however, earn their residents discounts on flood insurance premiums.

Currently, Daviess County and Owensboro have an “8” rating and residents receive a 10% discount on flood insurance premiums. (The lower the rating, the better the discount.) Louisville, for example, has a “3” rating, with residents receiving a 35% discount.

Connor said there are 14 CRS activities in which the city and county currently participate.

“We do outreach. We try to preserve open space,” Connor said.

City and county maintenance also count toward the community’s rating, Connor said.

“You have the option of selecting the activities you want to participate in,” she said.

There are about 1,000 flood insurance policies in Owensboro. With the 10% discount the city receives, “we figure they are saving $68 a policy,” she said.

With the five-year inspection, “we were determined we were going to improve our rating,” she said.

The inspection, which was done in December, involves FEMA contractors examining documents that show the community’s flood mitigation efforts.

Connor said communities are also scored on their efforts to educate people about flood insurance and flood issues. For example, the city’s website has a page with flood maps and information about the flood insurance program.

The inspectors look at county flood maps, stormwater management, drainage system maintenance, ditch cleaning and public information campaigns when giving communities a ranking.

“We have gone through all of those activities to see what we are doing and what we can do to improve our rating,” Connor said. “We are keeping our fingers crossed, and are hoping both the city and the county can improve.”

The community will likely hear from FEMA officials about the city and county’s rating in from two to three months. Connor said.

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

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