City joins effort to keep flood insurance rates down
Parish President Paul Naquin recently visited Washington, D.C. in an attempt to prevent increases in flood insurance rates for residents and businesses in St. Mary Parish.
Naquin addressed Franklin Mayor Raymond Harris and the City Council during the monthly meeting Tuesday at City Hall.
According to Naquin, the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW12) currently requires FEMA to eliminate discounts and subsidies to non-primary residences, businesses and severe repetitive loss properties, which means these structures will receive a 25 percent increase in flood insurance premiums for the next four years. He met with Sens. Mary Landrieu and David Vitter while in Washington and he said they are working to pass a standalone bill that will amend BW-12 to fight those increases.
Franklin Flood Plan Manager Blake Steiner said the city has already received a preliminary flood zone map from FEMA that shows most areas in Franklin, except for some areas south of the railroad tracks and on Barrow Street, are not at a high risk for flooding. There are some areas in Franklin that will have to be built up to above flood level to help keep flood insurance costs down, but there are some grants available for residents and businesses to raise their elevation.
Steiner said anyone needing these grants should contact him at City Hall and he will put them in touch with contractors who know how to get these grants.
The council passed a resolution stating that the Franklin City Council encourages all communities in the nation participating in the National Flood Insurance Program, as well as all state and federal legislators, to assist in the fight against the BW-12 and its negative implications for the future of businesses and residents nationwide.
Also during the meeting, Jules Darden of Miller Engineers & Associates Inc. said his firm recommends the construction contract for street improvements within the city be awarded to Glenn Lege Construction Inc. in the amount of $602,440.40. The council voted to accept the bid and Darden said work should begin within four to six weeks.
The mayor and council heard from Leroy Willis of Teche Action Clinic about the need for Medicaid expansion in the state. He asked the mayor and council to encourage citizens to contact state legislators to get them to approve the expansion. The council passed a resolution in support of the expansion.
Bayou Teche Black Bear Festival board member Judith Allain thanked the mayor, council, fire department, police department, city and all involved in making the festival a success. She presented the mayor with a festival poster to be displayed at City Hall.
In other discussion, Mayor Pro Tempore Lester Levine asked Police Chief Sabria McGuire what could be done to prevent bullying in the city’s parks during the summer. He said he had recently witnessed an incident in which adults were allowing children to fight. McGuire said she dealt with a similar situation last summer where the adults were arrested for contributing to the delinquency of minors and they served jail time. She said this technique worked quite well last year and that she would do the same this summer if the problem arises.
In other business the council:
—Approved resolutions granting flood elevation variances to Raymond Robicheaux for his mobile home park located at 1441 Mitchell St. and George Gil for his property located at 202 Canal Drive, both based on “better available data.”
—Adopted an ordinance to restricting parking on the south side of Jackson Street adjacent to the residential premises situated at 103 Jackson St. and 789 Teche Drive to residential parking only.
—Approved a resolution in support of an application for grant funding for the Bayou Beaux Arts and Dance Program.
—Approved the Louisiana Compliance Questionnaire for Audit Engagements of Government Agencies.
—Made the following appointments: Joseph Tabb as legal counsel for the Zoning Board of Adjustments and Civil Service Board; Susan Dorsey as legal counsel for the Historic District Commission; and Eli Fine, Tim Thibodaux, and Bill Thomas to the Civil Service Board.
Also, Councilman Chuck Autin said he has again been receiving complaints about trash collectors Progressive Waste Management.
He said he has been in contact with the company and they are again having problems because they do not have enough trucks, but they are working to resolve the issues.
In closing, Mayor Harris recognized Franklin Senior High and Hanson Memorial High School for recent achievements in spring sports and Nick Accardo IV for winning the national championship in the 100K. He also asked everyone to remember the people of Oklahoma and keep them in our prayers.