I’ve heard various estimates on how much flood insurance might cost if FEMA jacks up rates in the coming years.
Roger Churchwell, deputy director of the San Joaquin Area Flood Control Agency, told county water commissioners on Wednesday that the cost could be $4,000 per year. That’s close to 10 times the preferred rate that residents pay now.
Applying that $4,000 to all 8,000 homes in the Smith Canal flood zone would amount to a $32 million yearly cost for flood insurance.
“That’s horrendous,” Churchwell said. “Not acceptable.”
Last August FEMA announced that it was extending the preferred rates, but it’s not clear for how long. And yet, Smith Canal residents will soon be asked to pay for a $36 million gate at the head of Smith Canal to eliminate the insurance requirement.
The uncertainty over rates poses a problem for those who want the gate built.
“In these financially challenging times, homeowners want to know when (higher) rates will take effect. Knowing this information will help to educate the community in supporting projects,” SJAFCA officials said in a fact sheet explaining the situation.