Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to renew the city of Scranton's A99 designation, which helps reduce flood insurance costs for residents.
The designation from FEMA acknowledges that certain parts of Scranton are flood zones and that the city is making progress in reducing flood hazards. It has the impact of reducing the cost of flood insurance for residents by as much as 20 percent. Sections of Scranton were first given the designation in July of 2011 and it must be renewed annually. With August less than a week away, FEMA has not yet renewed the designation.
"While Scranton makes progress on reducing the risk of flooding in parts of the city, it's essential that FEMA renew the A99 designation to prevent a big jump in flood insurance costs for residents," Senator Casey said. "Flood insurance is a big cost for many families in Northeastern Pennsylvania and it's important that FEMA take steps to keep those costs down."
In July of 2011, FEMA classified certain sections of Scranton as Zone A99 areas after receiving requests from city officials. Federal regulations mandate that buildings in high-risk flood areas - like in the Plot, Weston Field and Green Ridge areas - with mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders have flood insurance. Having a FEMA accreditation would mean mortgage holders would not be required to carry flood insurance that National Flood Insurance Program officials say typically costs between $472 to $2,930 annually. With the change in designation requested by the city, residents in the zone can continue to see savings of up to 20 percent.
The full text of Casey's letter to FEMA can be seen below:
Mr. W. Craig Fugate
The Federal Emergency Management Agency
Dear Mr. Fugate:
I write to you today regarding the continuance of the Zone A99 designation on the agency's rate maps for the Albright Avenue, Plot and Green Ridge sections of Scranton, Pennsylvania. As you recall, the Zone A99 designation was granted to the City of Scranton in July 2011 and must be renewed annually.
It is my understanding that the City of Scranton sent required information documenting "adequate progress" for Scranton's Lackawanna River Flood Risk Management Project. As you know, there are approximately 700 residential and commercial structures protected by this levee project. A Zone A99 designation would greatly benefit these residents and help these households to continue to save as much as 20 percent on their flood insurance.
I urge you to approve this designation in a timely manner. Thank you for your attention to this request.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator