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Date of Issue: July 01, 2009

Holmes Beach prepares for flood-rating audit

Holmes Beach is working to earn some extra credit points that could earn property owners a larger discount on their flood insurance premiums.

The test for the city will come in September, when the Federal Emergency Management Agency conducts an audit of Holmes Beach’s floodplain management program and determines whether the city has accumulated enough points to improve its score on the community rating system under the National Flood Insurance Program.

The CRS is a national incentive program that encourages communities to adopt floodplain management activities exceeding the minimum National Flood Insurance Program requirements.

CRS has three goals:

• Reduce flood losses.

• Facilitate accurate insurance ratings.

• Promote the awareness of flood insurance.

While the major government goal is to reduce property damages in floods, property owners see another positive result with improved CRS scores — a reduction in flood insurance premiums.

The discounts are designed to reflect the reduced flood risk to property owners resulting from the community’s floodplain management activities, and the amount of the discount varies according to the community’s level of effort, according to a FEMA spokesperson.

All three Island cities participate in the national program.

On the CRS scale of 1-10, Anna Maria’s rating is 5, with a 25 percent discount for properties in what FEMA designates a Special Flood Hazard Area or the 100-year floodplain, and Bradenton Beach’s rating is 6, with a 20 percent discount for SFHA properties.

Holmes Beach’s current community rating or class is 7, with a 15 percent discount for SFHA properties.

However, over the past two years Holmes Beach has made efforts to better its score, said public works superintendent Joe Duennes.

The CRS uses a point system to evaluate city activities in four major areas:

• Public information.

• Mapping and regulation.

• Flood damage reduction.

• Flood preparedness.

“We’re making strides toward a 6,” he said, and with each lower point, premiums under the national program go down 5 percentage points.

To improve its score, the city has made annual improvements to its stormwater drainage system, Duennes said.

He said the city also should earn credit with FEMA for revising related ordinances, conducting a public information campaign on flood insurance, acquiring severe-repetitive loss property on Holmes Boulevard for open space of, a mapping program and his certification in floodplain management.

“All that,” Duennes said, “should give us points” in September.


What is a flood?

Flood insurance covers direct physical loss caused by “flood.” In simple terms, a flood is an excess of water on land that is normally dry. The official definition used by the National Flood Insurance Program is a flood is “a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties … from:

• Overflow of inland or tidal waters.

• Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source.

• Mudflow.

• Collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined above.”