And the following solved two minor mysteries as it appears Slabbed has competition claiming credit for the recent NFIP gyrations.
So the deal, in politicaleze as I see it is you push back the rate ups on grandfathered properties one year and then the momentum to continue doing exactly that is established. Against the backdrop of the country being beyond broke and in debt how the proverbial NFIP rubber meets the road is anyone’s guess. That said Brian Martin did stop in with us explaining how things could be a tad different on the Mississippi Coast if only……:
We had billions of dollars in the CIAP, Katrina Community Development Block Grants, FEMA Hazard Mitigation grants, and Corps of Engineers coastal improvement funds that coulda, woulda, shoulda been used to buy out and/or elevate homes in the lowest, most flood-prone areas, but the 100% federal funds with weak federal oversight were just too tempting for the state and local officials to smuggle into subsidizing other things. We know about CIAP. Some CDBG money went to the homeowner grants including some elevation money (that need was what got the money awarded), but big chunks of the CDBG money went to the port, to water and sewer infrastructure for inland developments that still haven’t happened, and other subsidies for developers rather than for individual homeowners owners. The FEMA money built a bunch of new public buildings all over Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson Counties by calling every new building a shelter, so federal taxpayers paid to build a bunch of community centers, recreation centers, etc. with money that was supposed to mitigate against future disaster losses. The Corps scared everybody by proposing to buy out about half of Bay St. Louis instead of smaller targeted projects, and then went and threw $500+ million into trying to restore Ship Island to its pre-Camille footprint – not pre-Katrina, pre-Camille – when it was still one island. As great as that ambition sounds to island lovers, it is nowhere near the top 10 best uses for $500 million in any legitimate cost-benefit analysis. They will pump sand until they run out of money and it might reduce the next storm surge by a foot on a small stretch of beach in Biloxi or Gulfport, and then when the next major storm runs over it a big chunk of Ship Island will disappear again.
My idea after Gustav flooding in 2008, was that any property in South Mississippi that floods from a category 2 hurricane that passes by without coming within 65 miles should be in a fast track program for either buy-out or elevation. Not mandatory, but if you refuse, then you can pay full actuarial rates for your flood insurance.
The problem with buy-outs now is that the regular FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program is 75 percent federal and 25 percent non-federal. The Severe Repetitive Loss Program is 90/10 but requires the local government to implement a serious plan to buy out repetitive loss properties – not just buy a few random properties. My experience after Georges and other storms when we didn’t have the special Katrina 100% federal money is that even when everyone wants a buy-out, the local counties and cities usually are not willing to put their own money into it, so it doesn’t happen.
Finally, everyone seemingly knows about Maxine Waters which is the Waters in the law’s title but Judy Biggert is a far more interesting character in this topic to me despite the fact she is now long gone from Congress. Sight unseen my money is on the “Revolving Door” for the payoff had to be extra sweet.