Adair County Commissioners are looking into whether the county should join the National Flood Insurance Program.
During a meeting Wednesday afternoon, the commissioners met with Dale Schmutzler, a representative from the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency. They learned that joining the program would allow homeowners living in the unincorporated areas of Adair County to purchase flood insurance.
Since Adair County does not have a Planning and Zoning Commission, the commissioners would have to put the measure on the ballot and then residents living in the unincorporated areas within Adair county would have to vote on whether they want to join the program.
If the measure passes, the county would have to adopt a Flood Plain Management Ordinance that regulates construction in designated flood plain areas within the unincorporated sections of the county.
"There's regulation stipulations on any construction in the flood plain, elevation requirements for homes, buildings, businesses, and probably about a third of the ordinance involves definitions. There's very precise definitions for things such as the lowest floor," said Dale Schmutzler, SEMA Floodplain Risk Reduction Coordinator.
Schmutzler said disaster assistance is limited if communities do not join the flood insurance program when they're located in a floodplain. Also, Schmutzler said communities are more likely to receive community development blocks if they join the program. Also, citizens living in flood plains will have more security in obtaining mortgages from banks.
Schmutzler said he has approached Adair County Commissioners in 2004 and 2008 about joining the program but they never followed up.
Co unty Commissioner Mark Thompson said they'll need the public's input before they decide to put something like this on the ballot.
"One problem that I have is unlike the federal government that's intruding into our lives all the time, I don't want to impose regulations on Adair County that's going to be intrusive so, if it's something that's going to provide health or safety factors for people here in Adair County, we may consider that," said Mark Thompson, (R)- Adair County 2nd District Commissioner. "If we do consider it, we'll have some town hall meetings, ask the people to come in and ask their opinions."
If the measure were put on the ballot and passed by voters, the county would also have to fill out an application to join the program, and designate a Flood Plain Administrator.
Schmutzler said the cities of Kirksville and Novinger have already joined the program.