“I say we don’t do it,” said Councilman Rob Hayes, who voted against the ordinance with Councilman Bill Cantley.
Council members Jimmy Hollander, Rachelle Painter, Kenny Womack and Mayor Rusty Jessup voted for the ordinance.
“You got to stand up somewhere,” Hayes said. “I’m voting against it—I don’t care what the repercussions are. It’s all a Ponzi scheme for them (FEMA). If enough step up, they’d have to re-look at it.”
Painter said if the city chooses not to pass the ordinance, residents can’t participate in the National Flood Insurance Program and the city is ineligible for FEMA funding.
“I don’t like this ordinance,” she said. “I don’t like the arbitrary lines they set (two feet higher than Alabama Power Company easement), disregarding Alabama Power and Southern Company (easement). But if we don’t adopt it, our citizens will suffer in several ways.”
Hollander said while he understands the city has to pass the ordinance, it doesn’t sit well with him.
“This punishes the people who weren’t in the floodplain and now are,” Hayes said. “They shouldn’t have to pay. FEMA is blackmailing us.”
Jessup said the city passed almost the same FEMA ordinance in 1986.
“This ordinance is more specific in a couple areas,” he said. “It has to be approved by June 16.”
Lincoln Councilman Bud Kitchin said the city of Lincoln is dealing with the same FEMA floodplain issues.
“It doesn’t sit well for me at all,” he said. “I’m a homeowner affected by it. I think we need to tell FEMA their mapping is inadequate for a controlled lake.”
Kitchin said cities can’t fight the ordinance because it is a losing battle due to the repercussions.
“They’ve covered all the bases, which is unfortunate,” he said.
Hayes said he thinks people need to file a class-action lawsuit against FEMA.
“The only reason this came about is because of (Hurricane) Katrina and the other big hurricanes,” he said. “Their flood insurance program couldn’t handle the catastrophic events. Now, they just punish more of us because they can’t afford it.”
Womack said the cities and people affected need to work together and let others know what is going on.
Jessup said the city can’t fix a federal law in this venue.
“The folks hurt are the ones who built completely legally after 1986,” he said. “I’m confident we are making enough noise on this lake along with Pell City Mayor Bill Hereford and Lincoln Mayor Lew Watson. FEMA needs to grandfather in folks who built legally or recognize that Logan Martin Lake is a 100 percent controlled lake.”
Kitchin said FEMA officials admitted they took no consideration to the fact that Logan Martin Lake is a controlled lake.
“They got us all over a barrel over this,” he said.
In other matters, the council:
• Approved the election fees ordinance for candidates qualifying for mayor or council for the 2012 election.
• Tabled a zoning ordinance change to provide more flexibility for property along the U.S. 78 corridor to the June 12 work session.
• Approved a resolution agreement with the Alabama Department of Transportation for the project to widen U.S. 78.
• A motion to increase the boat launch fees at Riverside Landing from $3 to $5 died for lack of a second.
• Announced the groundbreaking ceremony for Nufab Rebar LLC is at 11 a.m. June 22 onsite.
• Announced the Riverside Beautification Organization Poker Run is June 16.
Contact Elsie Hodnett at email@example.com.