Flood insurance fight in Mayfield


Though the group of Mayfield has not had a flood for decades, residents are now shelling out thousands for flood insurance coverage.

MAYFIELD, Pa. — Editors notice: A previous edition of this story indicated a $2.3 million federal grant was awarded to Mayfield Borough for the completion of a levee undertaking. When the borough has been awarded a grant to clean the river of vegetation, the post has been current to reflect that a possible $2.3 million grant has not yet been awarded.

Mayfield Borough officers tell Newswatch 16 that drinking water from the close by Lackawanna River has not threatened this community in much more than 50 decades.

Irrespective of a sizeable levee, several of the households and companies are now considered to be in the flood plain, and that difference is costing them. 

The Lackawanna River flows gently on the outskirts of Mayfield, the drinking water seldom growing up the walls of the levee that stretches more than a mile and a fifty percent. 

Mayor Al Chelik suggests the borough has noticed considerable flooding at the time, again in the early 1960s, but because the levee was installed, it hasn’t flooded at all. 

Continue to, FEMA states the levee does not meet up with its criteria and recently adjusted the floodplain to consist of most of Mayfield.

“The new floodplain restrictions arrived into effect inserting 301 buildings that are guarded by the levee, that have to pay back to repairs the levee, and now they have to invest in flood insurance policies,” mentioned Mayor Al Chelik, Mayfield. 

“We built it as a result of COVID, which a large amount of folks did not, and then this flood insurance policy came about, and we virtually experienced to near the doorways since of it,” claimed Garth Tonkin, Major Chief Industry Co-operator.

Garth Tonkin co-owns Big Main Marketplace. He suggests his company would have been forced to pay about $40,000 a 12 months for flood insurance policies, pretty much fifty percent of what it prices to stock the cabinets. 

As an alternative, the house owners applied an additional residence as collateral to refinance the business, pay out off the mortgage loan, and stay clear of the significant coverage expenses.

“You by no means know what is actually going to materialize. It could flood tomorrow, but it is really just the price tag of it will not make sense. And it’s worse when the federal government just tells you that you have to have this. I suggest, there’s no choices. You won’t be able to actually store around for it. It manufactured it quite challenging,” explained Tonkin.

Councilwoman Wendy Bochnovich states the flood insurance coverage expenditures are certain to get worse.

“It is supposed to go up following this yr. But not only that, it is people today who for whichever rationale have to or come to a decision to promote their properties, they are not able to sell them,” explained Bochnovich. 

Repairs on the levee has hardly ever stopped. Volunteers assemble the flood gates each individual yr, building absolutely sure the panels in good shape together to endure surging waters. 

The borough desires to convey the levee up to FEMA benchmarks and adjust the floodplain. Borough officials hope to get a $2.3 million federal grant to maximize the depth of some parts of the river by at minimum 3 feet, but they may possibly not halt there.

“We figure if you’re heading this considerably with the $2.3 million, is it likely to be an extra 6 inches or an more flood? We might as effectively shield ourselves from the 500-yr flood,” explained Bochnovich. 

Mayfield is nevertheless awaiting term on if it will obtain the federal grant to enhance the levee. With inflation and improved gasoline prices, officers reported even a doable $2.3 million may well not go as considerably. 

They are still hopeful get the job done can start, and residents in this article will shortly be out of the flood plain.

Related: Mayfield fighting federal flood regulation

Verify out WNEP’s YouTube channel.  


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