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Some Manchester Residents Brace for Higher Flood Insurance Bills

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Manchester, Iowa — As many as 200 homeowners in Manchester were expected to get some final, unwelcome news at a city public meeting Wednesday evening. They will get a look at redrawn flood maps for the city that will mean eventually mean more expensive flood insurance for some.

When you think of flooding in Manchester, you typically think of the Maquoketa River which runs through the middle of town.

But in 2007, the problem was flash flooding in tributaries, usually dry ditches, that run through the eastern part of the community from north to south. The redrawn flood map for Manchester will put more homes along those drainage ditches in the 100-year flood zone.

Most residents on the eastern side of Manchester call one drainage channel “Dry Run.” It’s not so dry now after recent rains. But it’s not an immediate flooding threat either. Some residents don’t want the current flood map to change in December and put them in that higher, and more expensive, flood risk category. One resident, Dick Hood, said it’s a constant topic of conversation.

“Everybody I talk to is not happy … not happy at all,” Hood said.

Hood said the new flood zone map wouldn’t cost him any money immediately. He has no current mortgage and the flash flooding in previous years along the unnamed tributary never reached his home so he won’t buy flood insurance. But Hood said if he sells the property, it will likely mean a lower price.

Another neighbor, Emily Meiner, said the potential price of flood insurance is scaring some buyers away from a nearby home.

“I think I remember they said an extra $2,000 a year for insurance, yeah flood insurance,” Meiner said.

City leaders said they sympathize with the ongoing expense of flood insurance required for anyone with a mortgage living in the expanded 100-year flood plain. But Manchester City Manager Tim Vick said not agreeing to the new flood map would potentially mean the loss of flood recovery money for future disasters.

“We could lose the opportunity for residents to have flood insurance. If they lose that, we may not receive federal funding should there be a flooding event that requires assistance in the future,” Vick said.

Vick said the new flood zone map, drawn up by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, goes into effect December 16, 2014. He said the changes impact 260 total parcels of land and about 200 homes.

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