Financially under water: FEMA 'mistake' proving costly to homeowners

May 12, 2012

Would you buy a house if the flood insurance alone was $40,000 a year?

Probably not.

If you owned such a house, your chances of selling it might be about as likely as floodwaters rising 21 feet above the Highway 144 bridge.

But according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), it could happen.

County officials are hoping to force FEMA to correct what County Commissioner Dick Roan called “a horrendous error” in calculating elevation that has caused flood insurance for some Rough Creek residents south of Granbury to skyrocket.

“One guy’s flood insurance was $40,000,” County Judge Darrell Cockerham said at this week’s regular meeting of the Commissioners Court. “He can’t sell his house – and it’s all because FEMA did their elevation wrong.”

The Commissioners Court has scheduled a public hearing for 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 12, to determine whether to spend the money to petition FEMA in an effort to force the agency to correct its flood plane maps. Cockerham said the process can take about six months. Roan said that costs involved will be “20 to 25 grand.”

“One of their agents transposed the readings onto the wrong lines from a previous survey,” said Roan, adding that the elevation calculations are as much as 21 feet off.

“They’re looking at the potential for a massive class action lawsuit,” the commissioner said.

[email protected]|817-573-7066, ext. 258

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