ESCANABA — Escanaba City Council took steps Thursday to ensure residents who have flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program continue to receive insurance coverage.
During the meeting, the council took action on an ordinance designating the County Building and Zoning Department as responsible for enforcing the floodplain-related portion of the Michigan Building Code and accepting the most recent floodplain maps for the county produced by the federal Agency for Emergency Management. FEMA has asked the city to pass the ordinance by March 7 so coverage can continue for homeowners who participate in the program.
“If we don’t approve this we will essentially be suspended and anyone who has flood insurance would not renew their policy and people would not be able to buy the insurance policy. So, like I said, time is of the essence,” City Manager Jim McNeil said Thursday.
The regulation was adopted unanimously after the second reading of the regulation and a public hearing. The first reading and public hearing took place at the February 2nd session.
There was no public input at either public hearing, although Councilor Ron Beauchamp asked at the Feb. 2 meeting whether the city was required to accept the portion of the ordinance related to acceptance of Section G of the state building codes.
“I got feedback. It’s part of the Flooded Area Mitigation Code, and without its inclusion it would disqualify us from participating in the National Flood Insurance Program,” McNeil said.
The council also passed a resolution on Thursday that essentially spells out the content of the ordinance and the duties of both the city and county.
Escanaba isn’t the only country that needs to enact the flood ordinance. Each municipality in the county has been asked to pass a similar ordinance to ensure residents remain eligible for the National Flood Insurance Program. Some of these ordinances, such as that for the City of Gladstone, have already been approved.
In another area, the city held the second of five scheduled public hearings on the city budget. Mayor Mark Ammel noted that the public hearings are an important part of the budget process for community organizations that receive financial support from the city.
“This is also generally a time when, if you’re part of an organization that’s generally receiving or soliciting funds from the city, you come down and make your motions, argue your cases, share with the community and the council the work that your organization is doing, that your board is doing and stuff like that. So please remember that this is an opportunity to publicize all your good work,” he said.
The next public hearing on the budget will take place at the March 16 session.
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