Alcorn County works on a flood-prevention plan

CORINTH – Like about 50 other counties in Mississippi, Alcorn County’s new flood plain maps are due to be finalized by late next year.
Unlike many of the other counties, however, Alcorn County is wrestling with establishing a flood plain management plan that the county originally agreed to implement in 2003.
Members of the Board of Supervisors, who all have been elected since then, learned of the county’s deficiencies during a recent site visit by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, which manages the federal flood insurance program.
Supervisors met Monday with the county engineer, currently the designated flood plain manager, and the emergency management director to develop a course of action.
The county must complete or provide evidence of progress in several areas, such as inventorying of structures and training for a manager, by July 11, said flood insurance coordinator Al Goodman.
Mississippi is updating flood maps statewide under a federal flood map modernization initiative that began in the early 2000s. The state’s maps should be completed by September 2010.
So far new maps have been delivered to 33 counties, but only four in northeast Mississippi – Benton, Chickasaw, Lee and Oktibbeha. The maps are used to determine which areas are more prone to flooding, and to determine risk for the National Flood Insurance Program.
Before moving ahead, the board must appoint a new flood plain manager, since the role is a conflict of interest for County Engineer Ricky Newcomb.
Once the new flood plain manager is designated, that officer will work with Newcomb, Emergency Management Director Ricky Gibens and Tax Assessor Kenneth Brawner to manage the county’s Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance once it is established.
The ordinance is voluntary, but all counties in the state are expected to pass similar ordinances, since no homeowner in a county may buy federal flood insurance unless the ordinance is in place.
Passing the ordinance also affects a county’s ability to qualify for federal disaster relief in the event of a natural disaster.
Neighboring Tippah and Tishomingo counties have passed similar ordinances. In March Tishomingo County also required that anyone who builds in the county acquire a building and utility permit in advance of construction.

Contact Lena Mitchell at 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.

 

Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal