Town decides not to buy flood insurance

Town decides not to buy flood insurance

By Jay Mullen

The recent flooding caused by storms last month was described as a “freak deal” by highway superintendent Louis Pratt during the Whitehall Town Board meeting on Sept. 16.

During town supervisor John Rozell’s report he went over how much the cleanup of the Municipal Center cost, as well as how much it would potentially cost to get flood insurance.

Rozell said during the meeting that neither the town, the village nor the school district has flood insurance.

Whitehall supervisor John Rozell

Quick Response sent an estimate of the cost for the cleanup at $63,528.07, which Rozell was able to get down to $41,508.97, according to Mayor Phil Smith.

Rozell said that both the village and the town are going to pay the bill.

“We’re looking at less than $20,000 probably off the top of my head,” he said.

Rozell took time during his report to give credit and show appreciation to the Whitehall Volunteer Fire Company, as well as the other first responders that came to help the community.

When the topic of flood insurance came up, Rozell said that he did not feel it would be worth the cost in the long run. After doing some research he found that covering the Municipal Center in its entirety would cost around $16,300 per year.

He said that they are already paying roughly $20,000 for the Quick Response bill, and he doesn’t see another flood of this magnitude happening anytime soon.

“I don’t feel myself that it would be worth paying $16,300 a year, because it could be another five years or longer,” he said about another potential flood. “I’ve been here 61 years, going on 62, and I’ve never seen that amount of water.”

Rozell said that the flood water didn’t come from the canal. It came down from Broadway and made its way into the Municipal Center through the back wall of the town office and the toilets.

Board member Stephanie Safka said it wouldn’t be worth the cost unless Whitehall experienced a similar flood once every four years or so.

“Even during (hurricanes) Sandy and Irene, this never flooded,” she said.

The board unanimously decided against pursuing flood insurance.