DENHAM SPRINGS — The city has improved its flood rating, which will mean insurance savings for city residents with flood insurance, according to city officials.
Improving both record keeping and enforcement of the city’s floodplain management ordinance helped the city improve its status, city officials said.
More than 1,700 Denham Springs homes are protected by flood insurance, said Rick Foster, the city’s building official.
City residents already save a total of $76,328 a year in annual premiums because of the status the city attained when it began participating in the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System, he said.
Under the improved rating, residents will save an additional 5 percent on premiums, which will mean a total annual savings of $148,441 for people with flood insurance, Foster said.
For individuals, that will amount to more than one monthly flood insurance note, he said.
Foster said the city’s residents currently pay a total of about $1.5 million in flood insurance.
The complicated changes in classification are only made twice a year, and it is too late to get the change in place by October, so it will begin in May, he said.
The city managed to get its rating improved by taking a number of actions. Those included: floodplain management training, enforcing storm-water regulations, drainage system maintenance, adopting building codes and elevating buildings to protect them from flood damage, Foster said.
He said the city is now rated an eight in the 10-tier program, and a few cities have been able to move down to a rating of five or six by enacting more strict regulations and elevations on new development.
The city’s rating is now better than most cities have been able to attain, Mayor Jimmy Durbin said.
“We had to have an ongoing dialogue with the National Flood Insurance Program to show them what we were doing to comply,” he said.
The city also hired Shaw Environmental and infrastructure to create a hazard mitigation plan, which will help the city get grant money to deal with flood issues, Durbin said.
Once that plan is in place, the city will be able to apply for grants directly, rather than having to go through the parish to obtain them, he said.