This article was originally posted April 10, 2010 by the Hard News Café.
By Paul Lewis Siddoway
PARADISE –The Town Council is considering adopting the new National Flood Insurance program despite their hesitancy to trust information put out by FEMA.
Zac Covington, from the Bear River Association of Governments, presented the council with maps put together by FEMA showing areas which would be eligible to receive funds from the federal government to rebuild after a natural disaster. He said Paradise’s highest risks are earthquakes and landslides, flooding, and agricultural hazards such as drought or insect infestation.
“We’re sitting better than I thought we were,” Mayor Leland Howlett said after looking at the map predicting damage done during an earthquake.
When the council turned to maps showing the predicted damage done by flooding, they felt FEMA was too conservative in their estimates.
“They’re showing that the canal would contain everything, which isn’t really credible,” Howlett said. “If we grew to the east, there’d be more risk.”
Covington showed the council Porcupine Dam is labeled as a “high risk” dam.
“That doesn’t mean it’s more likely to break, but if it does, there’ll be high amounts of damage,” Councilman Kyle Smith said, clarifying the term.
As part of the program, Covington explained it would allow for residents of Paradise to buy flood insurance.
“There is no cost to join, but it would cost for people to buy flood insurance,” Covington said.
“If we don’t participate, then we can’t buy it,” Councilman Don Snyder said, concerned.
Mayor Howlett encouraged council members to do more research into the necessity of the program before it gets put back on the agenda slated for April 14.
“Tremonton is a pretty big town on flat ground with rivers running through it. If they’re not part of the NFIP, we should look and try to figure out if we need that,” Howlett said.
“We wouldn’t be putting our citizens at risk, would we?” Smith asked.
FEMA updates the program every five years. Paradise adopted the 2004 version when it came out.