Howard County should subsidize flood insurance as the main focus of helping Ellicott City mitigate flood catastrophes like the one last year.
This recommendation is in response to Andrew Michael's June 8 article about the developing master plan to combat flooding in the Tiber-Hudson watershed ("Plans take shape to address Ellicott City flooding").
Across 18 possible stormwater projects, costs were estimated to be $85 million.
Very many other communities have tried very expensive flood-management construction projects only to find that they did not prevent catastrophes. Witness the long history of flood-control disasters in New Orleans, St. Louis and up and down the Mississippi Valley.
The National Flood Insurance Program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency offers a very much better alternative. Whereas the insurance is frequently not inexpensive, having Howard County subsidize the premiums via means such as tax credits and grants would be vastly more effective at mitigation.
Participating affected parties would get the financial help that they need at far less cost than ineffective construction projects. This would have the added benefit that FEMA would help prioritize critical construction projects that would directly contribute to minimizing premiums.
Michael W. Roth