Congressman Bill Johnson Talked In Pomeroy About Flood Insurance Rates

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In Pomeroy only a few meters separate the Ohio River from the Main Street, where there are shops, restaurants and homes.

Six weeks ago Eloise Drenner opened her shop on Main Street. She knows that there is always the danger of flooding for this location. But when the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced an increase in flood insurance rates in 2013 Drenner wasn't sure if she could buy the building.

"I couldn't go through the bank because of the flood insurance. There's no way I can afford that," Drenner said. But thanks to the help of a private lender, she was able to buy her shop.

This and other cases alarmed the Meigs County Commissioners. They feared the hike would cripple the local economy.

"We've heard stories like that from business leaders in all the village towns along the river," Commissioner Randy Smith said.

They contacted Congressman Bill Johnson who attended to their matter. In the beginning of last year he voted for the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014, a bill that delayed the increase. Instead of a federal insurance system Johnson prefers private insurers who step in.

"When the federal government tries to do things that private insurances should do, this is the problem that we have," he said.

On April 17, the Congressman Johnson went to Pomeroy to talk with community leaders and business owners. Drenner says she liked his idea of private flood insurer since it would give her an option.

But having an option she would not get an insurance, she said. Pomeroy people would have learned to deal with floods, she expained.

"We've always had time to get everything up before it floods."