Work begins on 12-week program for regional floodplain


Members of the City of Hattiesburg’s Floodplain Management Planning Committee began work Thursday morning assessing flooding needs in the city and addressing those deficiencies in an improvement plan.

The city officials, Hattiesburg residents and stakeholder groups appointed by Mayor Toby Barker met at the Train Depot conference room in the first of a 12-meeting program to develop a regional floodplain management plan. The Hub City is a voluntary member of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Community Rating System, which includes flood insurance premium discounts as incentives for participation.

Leading the discussion for the 90-minute meeting were Nick Williams, a planner and Community Rating System coordinator, and Lisa Reid, a CRS consultant.

Barker opened the meeting by talking about the importance of the committee’s work.

“Research shows that when public information efforts are planned and coordinated, people will take steps to protect themselves from flood damage,” he said. “We will discuss in the future why credit from the National Flood Insurance Program is so important, particularly areas in a flood zone.”

Barker said some actions are taken for compliance reasons. 

“Often, some of those meetings are held just to check a box,” he said. “I want this Floodplain Management Plan and the Program Public Information committee to not just be a box that we check. Yes, we do have to do this for our Community Rating System requirement, so that people can get discounts on their flood insurance.

“However, this committee’s efforts stand as an opportunity for our neighborhoods and residents to be more informed about the flooding issue in Hattiesburg and how it affects redevelopment, particularly in Ward 2 and in other wards as well.”

Among the subjects that will be studied during the 12-part program are the Community Rating System, Credit Points and what they mean, understanding the CRS Manual and how the Comprehensive Plan 2008-28 is relative.

Public comments will be sought after the committee proposal is formalized later this year.