Wednesday, April 10, 2013


UPDATE:  08:00 AM

On June 19, 2012 the-then incumbent congressional candidate Jim Renacci (Republican - Wadsworth - Ohio's 16th congressional district which includes North Canton) made a big show of coming into North Canton to meet with North Cantonians who live astride the frequently flooding Zimber Ditch in a show of solidarity or was it?

A scant two weeks or so later (June 29, 2012) he joined:
  • Congressman Bob Gibbs (Republican - Holmes County - Ohio's 7th Congressional District which includes most of the rest of Stark County), 
  • Congressman Tim Ryan (Democrat - Youngstown - Ohio's 13th Congressional District which includes the Alliance area) and 
  • United States Senator Sherrod Brown (Democrat) 
in voting for the “Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act of 2012,” which extends the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five years and makes reforms to the program."  (reference:  Insurance Networking News LINK).

Only U.S. Senator Rob Portman (Republican) voted against the measure which also included a surface transportation re-authorization bill and a student loan measure.

The vote could prove costly to flood-prone-property owners in North Canton and other such affected areas throughout Stark County.

According to Stark Emergency Services Director Tim Warstler, currently qualified owners receive a federal subsidy which keeps their flood insurance premiums affordable.  Currently, he says the typical flood insurance fee ranges between $1,000 and $2,000 but that he knows of one property owner who pays an $8,000 annual premium.

Maybe likely to be affected Stark Countians (probably about 20% of the county's flood victims) shouldn't be all that unhappy.

They could be worse off.

In The Report's talk with Warstler,  he agreed that under the new law a home owner on the outer banks of North Carolina (as an example:  Nags Head) will likely be paying $25,000 a year for flood insurance.

Why so high?  Because about once every ten years a Nags Head house is going to get swept out to sea.

Insurance Networking News says that the reform and modernization includes:
  • phasing out subsidies for many properties, 
  • raising the cap on annual premium increases from 10 to 20 percent, 
  • allowing multifamily properties to purchase NFIP policies, [and],
  • imposing minimum deductibles for flood claims,
On Monday, April 15th (10:00 a.m.), Warstler will be at a work session of the Stark County commissioners to explain premium ramifications specific to Stark Countians.

Ever since Commissioners Bernabei and Creighton encountered irate flood victim Perry Township residents at a community meeting (LINK to SCPR blog on meeting) on June 15, 2011 (as they were traversing Stark County to get support for a county sales tax ballot initiative), they have kept their eye on the ball in terms of trying to find solutions to Stark's chronic flooding problems.

Less than a month ago (March 19th - LINK to SCPR blog covering the event), the commissioners held a work session with key Stark County officials in an endeavor to explore ways and means for Stark to start actually taking measured and planned steps to - over the longer haul - get manageable control over Stark's flooding problem.

On March 28th, North Canton Council President Jon Snyder brought to North Canton's Civic Center a number of officials to address the city's Zimber Ditch generated flooding problem.

Included were:
  • State Rep. Kirk Schuring (Republican - Jackson Township) whose 48th Ohio House District includes North Canton,
  • Steve Ferryman and Josh Stigmon of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Emergency Management Division,
  • Director Tim Warstler of the Stark County Emergency Management Agency,
  • Bob Fonte the executive director of the Stark Parks (who, himself, is a hydraulics engineer)
The SCPR camera was also present the meeting and here is a video of the opening of the session:

Noteworthy to Stark Countians is a statement made in the video by Representative Schuring, to wit:
You can put it on me.  I will be the person who will try to be the conduit with all the elected officials be it federal, state or local to see if we can get you the solutions you need [to solve the Stark County flooding problem]
Perry officials have jumped on the bandwagon with the county commissioners' effort as indicated by this email:

In contrast to Renacci, Gibbs et al local officials are here day-in, day-out.

Congressman Renacci was only a "little late" in taking up a concern about North Canton's Zimber Ditch problem in showing up on June 12, 2012 for flooding that took place in July, 2011 (LINK to ABJ article).

But "better late than never," no?

At least from Renacci's perspective.   He had what at the time appeared to be a highly competitive race to retain his seat in the election of November, 2012.

For North Cantonians who have a persisting flooding problem, it should now be rather obvious that his appearance then was a feigned interest in his pursuit of reelection.

A couple of weeks or so later he was voting against their interests.

Such is what We Americans have come to expect of our politicians.  Especially congressional types.

And they wonder why we hold them in such disdain?

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