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NLB Councilman Shultz Reports FEMA Mandated Flood Insurance To End With L.A. River Work Finish Scheduled By End of 2001

Says There's "Light At The End Of The Tunnel"

(August 23, 2000) 9th district Councilman Jerry Shultz has reported to Councilmembers and the public that FEMA mandated flood insurance (locally known as the "flood tax"), now imposed on many property owners in parts of NLB and ELB, should end after L.A. river construction is completed, now scheduled for the end of 2001. He also reported FEMA officials indicated those paying mandatory flood insurance will be entitled to a refund of their final year's premium.

Councilman Shultz, who has publicly questioned why his NLB constituents remain subject to the flood tax when L.A. river parapet wall construction has been completed up to and beyond Rosecrans Ave., said he'd attended a community meeting earlier in the day in Paramount (which is also FEMA-impacted) set up by Congressman Steve Horn. Those attending included Congressman Horn, representatives of FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers, L.A. County Dept. of Public Works, the office of County Supervisor Don Knabe, several LB Council district office staff and representatives of the cities of Downey, Lakewood, Bellflower and other cities.

Councilman Shultz reported that the reason the flood insurance has remained in NLB and ELB thus far is there is a railroad bridge midway in LB crossing the L.A. river on which work has not yet been done but that goes out to bid in a couple of weeks. The existing bridge will be removed and a new bridge constructed from the ground up, Shultz said, meaning "they've got to cut a complete gap in the parapet wall and of course that would breach in case it were flooding. So until that project is done, the insurance will not go away for the remainder of Long Beach and the surrounding cities."

As to the timeline, Shultz said, "They assure us it will be completed by the end of next year." He added, "They also went on to say that the insurance that we pay for the very last year, up until the construction date, will be refunded, In other words, if the end of the year 2001 the project is completed and the insurance goes away, everyone who paid a premium for that last year, according to FEMA, will get the entire amount refunded, so that's at least a little bit of good news and there is light at the end of the tunnel."

Shultz added that the major project underway now is the confluence in the northern cities where the Rio Hondo and the L.A. river meet. "[T]hey've got another railroad bridge and I think even a second bridge up there, but in our particular area, it's a railroad overcrossing. That's the only thing holding it up." ha requested detailed materials on these matters and will convey them as newsworthy. Downriver areas of Wrigley and West Long Beach have previously been told the flood tax has been or will be lifted for them since nearby L.A. river construction has been completed.

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