Flood insurance law claims victim – county reassessment

The mess that is the new federal flood insurance law has claimed another local casualty Lycoming County’s planned reassessment.

The Lycoming County commissioners last week suspended the reassessment due to uncertainties created by the impact of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 on the value of affected properties.

The suspension is wise action. The flood insurance changes are so radical that a reassessment at this time would pardon the pun carry no value.

If the act is not repealed, the implications the drastic flood rate increases will have on properties would completely change the worth of those properties. That, in turn, would change the worth of even those properties not directly impacted by the flood insurance rate changes.

In other words, every property in the county is affected by this act. And not favorably, we might add.

The county is due for a property reassessment. The last one was a decade ago, in 2004.

Reassessments are meant to re-establish valuation fairness and consistency among all real estate tax parcels. That won’t be possible until there are firm ground rules for 5,355 properties in the county’s flood plain, 10 percent of the county’s parcels.

Chalk this up as just one more reason this act needs to be repealed quickly. We can’t have legislation that ultimately may result in the abandonment of 10 percent of the county’s properties due to whopping flood insurance rates that make the properties impossible to sell.

And remember, the same situation exists throughout much of the rest of the country. The reassessment can wait a little bit. The repeal of this atrocious piece of legislation cannot.