By Jacob Seibel, Wilkes-Barre Citizens’ Voice
WILKES-BARRE — The city has been named best in state for maintaining a national flood insurance program which reduces residents’ premiums.
The city’s “class 6” rating under the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System results in a 20 percent reduction in flood insurance premiums for properties located in flood hazard areas and a 10 percent reduction in flood insurance premiums for properties located in other floodplain areas, such as those protected by the levee, according to city officials.
The only other municipality in Pennsylvania to maintain a “class 6” rating is Harrisburg.
The NFIP’s Community Rating System is a voluntary incentive program which recognizes community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum requirements of the organization through implementing extra measures to protect insurable properties in the city from flooding.
“A class 6 rating is exceptional,” said William Harris, city director of planning and zoning. “The rating demonstrates the city’s continued efforts toward flood protection.”
Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tony George said the city’s participation in the program is a collaborative effort between several city departments, including planning and zoning and the department of public works.
“All are contributors to the success of this program,” George said. “Our participation better prepares the city for potential flood events.”
In 2010, Wilkes-Barre City Council passed a resolution authorizing the adoption of the 2009 Bi-County Mitigation Plan. The plan protects the city’s eligibility for disaster relief funding before or following a natural or man-made hazard event.