Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released revised flood maps that would require property owners of more than a thousand parcels in Syracuse to start paying for flood insurance.
The numbers reflect a slight reduction from estimates two years ago, when FEMA had initially released updated maps. At the time, a backlash across the country resulted in a review of the methods used for calculating high risk flood zones. The revisions remained in limbo until new maps were delivered on Tuesday.
Darden Lyles, who appears to live in a newly designated flood zone, can't afford flood insurance and he doesn't want it.
"I've been living here for 50 years now. I moved here in 1962,” he said. "I've never had a flood since I've been here."
Tim Carroll, who oversees mayoral initiatives at Syracuse City Hall says, "This is going to have an impact from Armory Square and South to Kirk Park in residential areas, some of the poorest areas of the city, who can least afford flood insurance, which can run $800 to say $2,000 a year."
City officials have 30 days to review the revisions. Carroll says there is a broader issue -- questions across the nation about FEMA's methods for calculating flood plains at a time when the agency is struggling financially to keep up with natural disasters.
"And those people are asking a fair question. If we weren't in a flood area 50 years ago when this program started, why are we today?" Carroll pondered.
Carroll says mistakes were found with the map FEMA submitted two years ago, which resulted in the removal of more than a hundred parcels from the flood zone. Technology is credited with helping FEMA predict flood zones more accurately.
Mercedes Bloodworth, isn't convinced that modern science is the basis for the map revisions.
"Everybody, not just the government, is in a financial crisis. Everyone that lives paycheck to paycheck is in a financial crisis and it is a shame that they are depending on us to bail them out,” Bloodworth said.
Bloodworth, a member of Syracuse United Neighbors, stands in solidarity with Lyles and other neighbors, who are fighting the federal government's possible flood insurance requirement.
"For 16 years, I've been retired and on a fixed income. The funds are not there,” Lyles said.
Following the 30-day review period, municipalities must implement the final version of the map within six months. Individual property owners can call 1-877-FEMA-MAP to appeal a placement in high risk flood zones.