My local leaders turn down the feds

Posted: April 18, 2023 by chrisharper in Uncategorized
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By Christopher Harper

By a 4-3 vote, the Muncy Borough Council told the federal government to stay out of my town’s business.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the organization that oversees national disasters, had offered to buy and tear down 19 local homes because they sat in the flood plain of the Susquehanna River.

About 40 percent of the town of 2,400 residents sits in the flood plain. The last big flood happened in 2004, with some minor to moderate flooding every five or six years.

What concerns Council President Bill Scott is that the purchased homes will be torn down, leaving the borough with an estimated yearly loss in local revenue of nearly $30,000.

“I’m not for it,” Scott said. “Half of our town floods. That’s the main issue.”

Scott said he believes it is better to look at flood control studies before removing properties from the tax base.

“That adds up,” he said. “That’s a significant amount of money over time.”

Scott and three other council members decided that it was better to stay off the federal government tax trough and see if there was a better solution.

“Being an engineer and not giving up too easily, I think it can be solved,” Scott added. “It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s a long-term thing.”

The local homeowners complain that they can’t see their homes for a profit because they’re in the flood plain.

The argument sounds a lot like the student loan issue. People who make lousy decisions want the government to pay for their mistakes.

When we moved to Muncy, the possibility of a flood concerned us—as it does many people in the area. That’s why buyers have a home inspection and an appraisal before purchasing a house.

Moreover, flood insurance isn’t cheap—an estimated $1,400 a year above basic coverage—but it comes in handy should water damage happen. It’s the cost of buying and maintaining a home.

I applaud my local leaders for saying no to the feds and trying to devise an alternative solution. More local governments should determine whether federal programs actually hurt their communities.

  1. jk says:

    Yep. People want shields from their bad decisions. It’s the same with living in FL – don’t buy on the coast or in any other flood-zone area, or be prepared to pay for insurance, much more than your inland neighbors, who aren’t living in flood plains.

  2. joseph131313 says:

    Yep. Good analogy with the student loan. Folks always hate government intervention, until folks want the taxpayers, to pay for the folks’ bad decisions.