Officials frustrated by city flood map

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

Clovis commissioners aren’t happy with a Federal Emergency Management Agency flood map that still doesn’t include flood prevention projects the city has accomplished in the last 20 years.

Officials say failure to upgrade the map means businesses and homeowners are being forced to pay for unnecessary flood insurance.

Clovis City Commissioner and Mayor Pro Tem Randy Crowder said he is frustrated the agency has not changed its map to include more than $20 million in flood prevention projects paid for by the city.

At Thursday’s city commission meeting, Crowder recommended either filing an appeal or protesting the agency’s map

“If we can get these maps amended, then a lot of that money that is being sent to federal government (for flood insurance) can stay within our communities,” Crowder said.

City Manager Joe Thomas said the agency re-evaluates its flood map every 10 years. During a meeting with the agency earlier Thursday, Thomas pointed out the map of Clovis hasn’t changed.

“We don’t feel we’ve seen the benefits of some of the work we’ve all planned in the last 20 years,” he said.

Property owners in flood zones are required to buy flood insurance, according to Thomas.

Crowder said the evaluation of the city’s flood map also includes unfair modeling such as assuming the city’s man-made lakes are full.

“That’s a very unfair analysis,” he said.

Projects the city completed include a storm water control program in 1999 designed to collect excess water.

“A lot of projects eliminated or greatly decreased the chance of flooding in the city,” he said. “And yet people are still required to purchase flood insurance when the likelihood is non-existent that they will suffer floodings.”

In other business commissioners:

n Approved to extend the deadline to complete the Clovis Biodiesel plant to Dec. 31. A joint venture by ARES Corp. and Blue Sun Biodiesel, officials expect to produce more than 15 million gallons of biodiesel a year. Located at the Clovis Industrial Park south of the city, the plant will make produce the alternative fuel from soy beans and canola oil. The company halted construction of the plant in last year because of a lack of financing.

Clovis industrial Development Corporation Executive Director Chase Gentry said the company has not set a date to resume construction but said the plant will take about three months to complete.

n Issued $100 million in Industrial Revenue Bonds to The Southwest Cheese plant. Industrial Revenue Bonds exempt the company from paying property taxes. Gentry said the company will use the money it saves from paying taxes to upgrade its equipment and buildings.