COLUMBIA — Boone County and Columbia officials raised concerns at a meeting Thursday over outdated mapping information used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to create a Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map of Boone County.
The map is a part of FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program, a voluntary program in which communities can enroll. Participating communities receive financial aid on flood insurance but must adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations established by FEMA.
The creation of a rate map for Boone County has been ongoing since 2005. The preliminary results of this map were the focus of a meeting held Thursday by FEMA and the State Emergency Management Agency at the Boone County Government Center. Along with city and county officials, representatives from private insurance companies and U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill's office attended.
Boone County commissioners Skip Elkin and Karen Miller were among those who raised concerns about the potential inaccuracies of the map, citing constantly changing corporate boundaries, stream patterns and city regulations.
Whether information sent to FEMA actually would be incorporated into the map also was discussed. Elkin said that if updated mapping data is sent to FEMA, they should be "obligated to use it."
"I think all our goals are the same," Elkin said. "We want the most accurate data in order to help the communities."
Dale Schmutzler, a floodplain risk reduction coordinator for the State Emergency Management Agency, said the map will be published on FEMA's Web site once it's adopted. He was unsure when that might be — calling it a "floating date — and said the exact timing depends on how many comments and appeals FEMA gets.
As soon as a letter is sent out by FEMA to the communities, a comment and appeal window will officially open. Pat Fitzgerald of the Columbia Public Works Department said the office is in the early stages of reviewing the new map and comparing it to the current floodplain map of Columbia. He said the only problems they have noticed so far are "basic stuff," such as street and stream names.
Fitzgerald said, "We're still studying the maps internally to see if any problems jump out at us."