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Residents in Unincorporated Areas of Pinal County will see Break on Flood Insurance

The CRS was designed by the National Flood Insurance Program to voluntarily encourage a comprehensive approach to flood plain management. The goal is to make communities safer from flooding and to lower insurance costs. The scale is rated from 10 to 1. The lower your rating, the lower flood insurance costs are for residents in that area.

"The way the program works is that if your community is rated a '10' then there is no discount for your community," stated County Manager Greg Stanley. "For every point you rise, there is a five percent decrease in your flood insurance costs. Pinal County, achieving a classification of '7' will mean residents in the unincorporated areas who live in a special flood hazard area can receive a 15 percent discount."

The new classification rating will take place on May 1 of this year.

"We have been working to get into the CRS program since Flood Plain Administration moved under Public Works back in 2007," Stanley said. "Public Works has this program in their strategic business plan, and has continuously plugged away at this for several years. Normally when they take you in to CRS you start at Class 9, but we will be starting at Class 7."

Pinal County's Flood Control Section Chief Elise Moore said the seven years of researching, cataloging and going over old building permits was time well spent to get the high classification.

"This was truly a team effort," Moore said. "Everyone from the Board to Greg Stanley to Public Works and Community Development worked long on this process. In the end, the result was a good classification."

The special flood hazard areas are spread throughout 372 square miles of Pinal County. Many of those areas are located next to the three major rivers in the county: the Santa Cruz, Gila and San Pedro.

"The key to getting into the CRS program is having good elevation certificates," stated Engineer Christopher Wanamaker. "Without correct elevation certificates, you won't be eligible to join the CRS program."

Wanamaker worked in conjunction with representatives from National Flood Insurance Program in order to get Pinal County the valued CRS rating. He said it became a job that meant looking at the past as well as planning for the future when it came to reviewing and issuing building permits. All permits given to a person in a flood plain had to meet the minimum requirements set forth by the National Flood Insurance Program.

"We spent a lot of time getting a handle on developing procedures to review building permits," Wanamaker said. "We had to present copies of every permit and elevation certificate when submitting our application to join the CRS. That meant working through the County's G.I.S. maps and making sure every building permits from old to new had a proper elevation certificate."

District 4 Supervisor Anthony Smith said that many of his residents who are affected by flooding along the Santa Cruz will be pleased to hear this type of news.

"Receiving this lower initial rating was definitely a bonus that was made possible only by the dedication of our expert staff," Smith stated. "More importantly, I'm delighted to know that those paying flood insurance will benefit from lower rates."

Wanamaker added that the people who benefit the most from the CRS rating are Pinal County residents.

"In the end, it makes all of us feel very good to help save the taxpayer some money when it comes to flood insurance."

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Saturday, 15 June 2024

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