County supports repeal of flood insurance reform

Lycoming County is sending a message to the federal government, with the county commissioners set to vote on a resolution Thursday that supports the full repeal of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act.

It also supports the resetting of insurance premiums to amounts in place prior to passage of the bill in 2012.

“The resolution is prepared and we’re ready to vote on it,” said Commissioner Tony Mussare. “We need it repealed.”

Despite the passage of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act in May that would limit the largest flood insurance premium increases and allow certain properties to avoid increases altogether under a grandfather clause, many in the county still are struggling to afford significant spikes in their insurance costs.

That legislation “neglected to address non-primary and commercial properties,” according to the resolution, in addition to the failure to conduct an affordability study of the county as part of Biggert-Waters.

The resolution also echoes concerns that if flood insurance rates are unaffordable, people may just drop it altogether, which is “not in the best interests of the property owner, local, state or federal government.”

The commissioners also will vote Thursday to approve a reimbursement agreement for emergency repair work on the Marsh Hill bridge in McIntyre Township.

The weight limit on the county-owned bridge over Pleasant Stream Road was lowered from 27 tons to 5 tons in November of last year, after an inspection found significant deterioration of its support beams.

County Transportation Planner Mark Murawski said that the $2.8 million project now is complete and the weight limit has been lifted, and the county will apply for reimbursement from the federal and state governments.

Murawski said he expects 80 percent of the reimbursement will come from the federal level and 15 percent from the state, leaving the county responsible for only 5 percent, or about $140,000.

The next county commissioners meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at Pine Street Executive Plaza, 330 Pine St.