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Lackawanna officials seeking flood insurance relief

Mike Desmond/wbfo

Lackawanna says high flood insurance rates are creating problems for homes and businesses.

It's fairly standard for mortgage companies to require homeowner insurance on a home. If it's in a FEMA designated flood plain, flood insurance is also required and that may not be cheap.

With the help of Rep. Brian Higgins, major changes were made in the flood plains in South Buffalo, taking many homes off the insurance bills.

Now, Lackawanna says new maps aren't fair since they left about the same number of homes and businesses required to get the insurance.

Mayor Geoff Szymanski says flood insurance raises the cost of home ownership.

"We have a Smokes Creek engineering flood control project here in the city of Lackawanna and Lackawanna's creek hasn't flooded since 1959," Szymanski said.

"Yet we still have to pay this FEMA flood insurance and what this is doing is it's crippling our low to moderate income homes that have to pay this, what I consider, unfair tax just so they can have a mortgage."

Szymanski says he is very familiar with the issue since he lives in a flood plain and has to pay for flood coverage.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.