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Homeowners want flood zones remapped
Gates, N.Y. President Barack Obama is expected to sign a bipartisan bill into law relieving flood zone homeowners from big increases in insurance bills.
In 2012, the government rewrote the federal flood insurance program with the Biggert Waters Reform Act.
After that, some areas in the Town of Gates were remapped and deemed high-risk for flooding.
Unless homeowners were already grandfathered into rates, new homeowners and those refinancing saw insurance rates go up a lot.
Nancy Durham of Gates said, $878 is the original price they gave me to start.
But soon after Durham received a bill in the mail that said her flood insurance premium was going up to more than $4,000.
The presidents bill will provide relief for homeowners like Durham by subsidizing rates for the next five years to 18 percent instead of 25 percent.
But Durham and her neighbor Robert Gallagher said it would only be a temporary fix.
We're not in a flood zone, said Gallagher. We don't believe in our hearts that we're in a flood zone. We're in a flood zone in a mistake in a drawing."
Officials from the Town of Gates said the Federal Emergency Management Agency sets the rates. They also said officials from FEMA never came to assess the neighborhood for high risk flooding in person.
Durham said, "If you're going to do something before you do it, you come out here and survey all the property, and then if you think we're in a high-risk, go for it, but not until then."
The Town Supervisor for Gates Mark Assini said he's now talking with lawmakers in hopes of getting FEMA to remap the Town of Gates for flooding.
Assini also said flood insurance rates impact the ability for homeowners to get a mortgage, sell a home and the overall value of a home. He said all this in areas he says will never see a flood.