Hampshire, Morgan counties to receive homeland security award - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Hampshire, Morgan counties to receive homeland security award

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For The State Journal

Hampshire County is one of four counties and three cities in the state that will receive an award from West Virginia Homeland Security through FEMA's community rating system that will help reduce flood insurance premium costs.

FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program started the Community Rating System in 1990 to recognize and encourage the activities communities can take to go beyond the minimum floodplain regulations required by the NFIP.

An award for being adopted into the system was presented to the county commission Dec. 17 at the courthouse, Charlie Baker, flood plain administrator, said.

"The rating is a point-based system for what we do in Hampshire County above and beyond to help mitigate loss of property and lives," Baker said.

Under the Community Rating System, the ratings go from 1 to 10 with the lower number being the best rate. The lower the rate, the more of a discount is awarded to the premiums.

Hampshire County is rated 8 out of 10, which means policy holders in a special flood hazard area soon will see a 10 percent reduction in their policies.

"Policy holders outside the flood hazard area will see a 5 percent decrease," Baker said.

Morgan County has a 9 out of 10 rating.

Alma Gorse is the flood plain manager in Morgan County.

"The ranking of 9 will aid our citizens a little bit with an additional discount, should they need flood insurance," Gorse said. "It's a fabulous thing. With all the talk from Washington, D.C. about flood insurance, every little bit helps."

Gorse said this rating system is a tremendous savings to residents when it comes to flood insurance premiums.

In order to be adopted to the Community Rating System, county flood plain managers have to keep myriad records — each of which earns points.

Points are obtained from general records management, public outreach, hazard mitigation preparedness, information supplied to public libraries, safe dams and enforcing building codes.

The other two counties that will be adopted in the system are Jefferson, rated 8, and Berkeley, rated 7.

The cities include: Buckhannon, rated eight; Charleston, rated 9; and Philippi, rated 8.

Six counties in Maryland and three of its cities also have been rated.

Commissioners in Morgan County will receive their award Dec. 19.

The ratings are published in the flood insurance manual showing the effective date of Oct. 1. 

To learn more, visit fema.gov/flood-insurance-manual.

Tax info

Qualified disaster relief payments you receive for expenses you incurred as a result of a federally declared disaster are not taxable income to you.

Disaster unemployment assistance payments are unemployment benefits that are taxable.

Generally, disaster relief grants and qualified disaster mitigation payments made under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act or the National Flood Insurance Act are not able to be included in your income.

Source: irs.gov