Mayor: Levee ‘provisionally accredited’

by nathan oster

Greybull residents won’t have to pay higher flood insurance rates as long as the town continues to make progress toward recertification of its levee.

Mayor Bob Graham made the announcement during the May 13 meeting of the Greybull Town Council, telling his fellow council members and the audience that if nothing else, it buys the town more time.

Graham said he asked representatives of the national flood insurance program for an extension but was originally told no. “But then they called back and said, ‘We appreciate you moving forward with the project and will adjust the provisional accredited levy (designation) to the new mapping tool that will come out in August or September.

“That PAL will stay attached, which means that Greybull residents will not need to pay increased rates for insurance as long as we show progress toward levee certification.  If we run into a stalemate, or don’t show action and keep them up to speed on our progress, then the PAL will be lifted and our people will have to pay higher insurance rates.  So it’s like an extension.”

The town has been working with a consulting firm, AMEC, on the dike recertification.  A team from AMEC inspected the levee during a site visit earlier this spring and is now in the process of finalizing its report, which is due July 31.

That report will identify deficiencies in the levee, provide options to mitigate those deficiencies and identify potential funding sources to cover the costs of the work.

Graham reported during last week’s meeting that AMEC has informed him of an additional $51,000 in charges associated with the study.  He and a company spokesman are currently working to bridge that gap in the scope of services.

In other actions related to the dike recertification, the council authorized Graham to send two letters to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  One was for application under Section 205 to look at redirecting or opening some or all of the original channels in the oxbow to relieve hydraulic pressure placed on the town’s levee during periods of high water. The other letter of application falls under Section 1135 and deals more with wetlands, Graham said.