Ford City Borough announces major floodplain changes
Letter containing map revision issued in municipality along Allegheny River
FOR THE LEADER TIMES
FORD CITY, Pa. — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced Ford City Borough will be impacted by new floodplain maps in summer 2021, according to a press release recently issued by borough leaders.
In a document sent to borough officials dated Feb. 10, 2021, the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) report and Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) for the municipality along the Allegheny River have been revised by a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR), the release states
The new map will be used for floodplain management purposes and for all flood insurance policies and renewals, the release states.
Overview from 2016 to 2021
Borough Council President Carol Fenyes stated the following in the release: “Prior to Feb. 17, 2016, Ford City Borough was in Flood Zone X, which had no flood insurance requirement. After that date, 63.8% of the borough was placed in Zone AE, which mandated flood insurance. Housing values dropped immediately.”
With the imposition of Zone AE, borough council asked FEMA to perform a Natural Valley Assessment (NVA), the release states.
The NVA brought engineers from the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA representatives to the borough to survey the town, at which time they gathered related flooding statistics — i.e.: historical flow rates, high water marks, more accurate base flood elevations and hydrologic analysis, the release states.
With the compilation of information completed, the release states, FEMA notified borough officials of a pending flood map revision, which would include more of the community into the Zone AE flood plain.
However, that revision was never applied by FEMA, the release states.
FEMA, instead, opted to hire consultants to perform hydrologic analyses and formulate a new flood model from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lock and Dam No. 4 to the downstream corporate limits of South Buffalo Township.
As a result of this study, FEMA issued a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) for Ford City Borough to go into effect June 21, 2021.
This revision involves all but a portion of land along the riverfront, removing it from Zone AE and returning it to Zone X which represents a 0.2% annual chance of flood hazard, thus making flood insurance recommended but not mandatory.
Borough officials react
In response to the revision and subsequent reclassification of the specified land to Zone X, borough council Vice President Tyson Klukan issued the following statement: “This is a huge win for our citizens, as the cost of Zone AE flood insurance had a negative financial impact for residential and commercial properties. Additionally, this will allow for further economic development.”
Borough officials have been working in a concerted effort with federal, state and county officials to tackle the FEMA flood maps head on, the release states.
“Not only will residents be relieved of the flood insurance requirements from their mortgages, but business owners will be able to renegotiate their lines of credit removing the same restrictions,” Fenyes said.
FEMA’s announcement stated they would not be republishing the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) report and the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) but will rely on the borough to have the information available for insurance agents, mortgage lenders and property owners.
“On behalf of Ford City Borough we appreciate the grassroots efforts of engineers and citizen groups providing sufficient data to FEMA officials to help make a favorable decision for our residents,” Klukan said.
Borough officials will be releasing a dedicated webpage for more information on map revisions along with contact information for questions at: fordcityborough.org.
NEW Garbage Collection- Vogel
12-21-20 Statement to Ford City Borough Citizens from Council:
TO THE RESIDENTS OF THE 1400, 1500 AND 1600 BLOCKS OF 5TH AVENUE AND 17TH STREET FROM 5TH AVENUE TO 3RDAVENUE:
FORD CITY 5TH AVENUE WATERLINE PROJECT UPDATE
Ford City Borough Council is pleased to report updates on the 5th Avenue Waterline Project.
Council is in the process of finalizing this project for the Spring of 2021. The engineering drawings are complete, and the bid package will be advertised by mid-December. There will be a 30-day bid period followed by a formal bid opening at the Borough office. The selection process involved a cost analysis review of all proposals. Once the review was complete, Council made the decision to proceed with S&T Bank.
Also, as part of this process, Ford City had to display the ability to pay for the debt incurred. After a review of our rates and the projected 2021 budget, the Finance Committee recommended a $5/customer/month rate increase to cover repayment. This rate increase will be reflected in the 2021 billing cycles.
We will be submitting the financing package and formal paperwork to the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). The Local Government Uniform Debt Act (LGUDA) is an application every municipality must file with DCED to get their approval for a municipality’s taking on debt. This process will take place simultaneous to the bid package.
Once these two processes are complete, the project will be scheduled to commence.
Until the replacement is scheduled, we will continue to flush the lines regularly and provide bottled water as needed (from the Borough office).