Chiefland looking at adopting FEMA flood ordinance

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By Mark Scohier, Staff writer

Commissioners are leaning toward adopting a Federal Emergency Management Agency ordinance that regulates flood zones in the city.

The issue will be brought up later for final approval, but commissioners were in agreement Monday night that the move would be a good idea.

City Manager Kevin Gay said there are two small areas in the city that will be affected, though there are no homes in the areas, which are both agricultural.

The ordinance mostly sets home foundation heights above potential flood levels.

"The area that would be in this, nobody lives there anyway," Gay said. 

Not adopting the ordinance, he said, could mean the city misses out on various grant opportunities.

"Is it a cost to the city?" Commissioner Betty Walker asked.

Several officials said it was not.

City Attorney Norm Fugate said, in fact, adopting the ordinance creates a "better likelihood of getting assistance" in emergency situations.

City Finance Coordinator Laurie Copeland agreed. "If we are not participating in this program, we are not eligible," she said.

Gay added that reporting requirements related to emergencies has gotten easier, as well. What used to be a three-week process, he said, has now been reduced to "basically a sheet of paper."

"Can we get that in writing," Walker asked.

"Sure," Gay said.