BUFFALO, N.Y. — FEMA has expanded the map of flood prone areas in all of Erie County. It has done so because it has identified a greater risk for serious flooding in certain areas.
This is important because if cities, like Buffalo, don't accept the new designations, the city will lose its membership in the Federal Flood Insurance Program. That means, home and business owners won't be able to buy federal flood insurance. FEMA said the majority of flood insurance is provided by the government.
"To maintain eligibility in the NFIP it is necessary that the City of Buffalo adopts the new Flood Insurance Study and Flood Insurance Rate Maps into the community's floodplain management regulations," a letter from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation to the city of Buffalo, said.
Buffalo has until June 7th to adopt the new map before it gets suspended from the NFIP.
While this may seem benign, this has a financial impact on residents who would have to purchase flood insurance. 7 Eyewitness News spoke to many people in Buffalo's Old First Ward, they said that flooding isn't a big concern for them, and it doesn't happen very often.
The last flood in the area was in 2008.
This is why Buffalo city councilman David Franczyk is leery of accepting the new map. He doesn't want to put an undue financial burden on the people that live near the water.
"Asking to force expensive flood insurance that would be negatively impacting buffalo homeowners along the water front as well as business owners,” Franczyk said.
What's more, Buffalonians almost lost their flood insurance in 2010. It was an identical situation to what is going on right now, except Franczyk said nothing happened because FEMA's facts were wrong.
"A lot of the neighborhoods were removed because the technology was flawed."
Before Franzcyk accepts the new map, he wants to sit and talk with FEMA and the DEC.
"They never met with us, so my resolution asks that they come in an speak to the council and speak to our various departments.”
Franczyk will submit a formal proposal at Tuesday's common council meeting asking the state and federal agencies to meet with city.
Buffalo officials also said the Department of Public Works will meet with the DEC on Thursday. The city did not say what it was about.