At the Lansing Town Board’s March 15 meeting, Tompkins County Legislator Mike Sigler informed the board that updated Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) floodplain maps have been rolled out.
About 20 properties in Lansing were removed and roughly 20 others were added to the updated map.
“The impact to Lansing is not as big as the city [of Ithaca], but if you’re one of those 20 homes that will be impacted, the impact is rather large,” Sigler said.
Those 20-or-so property owners will need to start shopping for flood insurance. The average cost of flood insurance in New York is $725 per year, according to a 2022 study conducted by FEMA, though that number fluctuates depending on the location of the property and the level of risk it faces. According to PolicyGenius.com, the average annual cost of flood insurance in Tompkins County in 2022 was $1,186.
“I have a lot of people who have literally never come up to me about anything, that are coming up to me about this,” Sigler said. “They’re all saying, ‘Listen, our assessments just went up, our electricity prices were up this year, and now I’m going to have to go back and get flood insurance.’”
Each of the estimated 20 properties added to the new maps reside in the AE flood zone. Properties in this zone have a one percent chance of being flooded in a year (or 1-in-100 year flood). Even though the chances are slim, the possibility is still there.
Town Planning Director John Zepko said the Lansing floodplain maps had not been updated since the early 1980s.
“Technology has changed quite a bit, as has the amount of time that we have had to collect rainfall data,” Zepko said. “So that’s one of the reasons that you’re seeing the maps being revised.”
Zepko said residents can stop by the Planning and Code Enforcement Office to view the new FEMA floodplain maps and see if their property will be impacted.
Councilman Joe Wetmore said the new FEMA maps are much more precise than the older ones.
“I’ve seen the FEMA maps in the current flood zone, and I’ve seen what the rainfall has done in terms of flooding, and the new FEMA maps are more accurate than the old ones,” Wetmore said. “They’re actually showing the areas flooding that the old maps don’t say with flood.”
Sigler said information on 20 properties impacted by the new maps has yet to be released, but he will notify the town once it is available.
“They haven’t sent out the report they said they were going to send to tell us which houses are involved,” Sigler said. “Once we have that kind of information we can go forward with it.”
County Expects Negative Impact from Governor’s Budget Proposal
Tompkins County officials are ramping up efforts asking Governor Kathy Hochul to reconsider her plans to shift $625 million in Medicaid costs to county governments by intercepting eFMAP funds, according to a press release from March 14. The county estimates the 2024 budget impact would be $1.5 million – equal to a three percent increase in the local property tax levy – and that there may be about a $600,000 impact in 2023 when the state policy goes into effect.
“If the State’s goals are to increase affordability and provide robust services to those in need this is an unwise proposal,” Tompkins County Administrator Lisa Holmes said in the March 14 release. “Shifting the costs onto counties adds more burden to the local governments that carry out much of the work that the State takes credit for. This would make it more difficult and expensive for us to do that work and will result in increased property taxes, which in-turn impacts affordability. While it is mandated by the State that counties pay for Medicaid costs, we have no local control over those costs or how they’re spent.”
At the March 15 town board meeting, Sigler said the county will work to ensure that money stays put.
“That is what we are fighting for now in New York State,” he said, “to see if we can … claw that money back.”
Welcome to the discussion.
This is a space for civil feedback and conversation. A few guidelines: 1. be kind and courteous. 2. no hate speech or bullying. 3. no promotions or spam. If necessary, we will ban members who do not abide by these standards.