Terrebonne hires consultant for mitigation programs

Terrebonne Parish took a step toward elevating multiple homes at risk of flooding.

The parish council’s Community Development and Planning Committee agreed to let Parish President Gordon Dove select All South Consulting Engineering as the project manager for two flood mitigation assistance programs. The two projects are set to elevate a total of four properties in Terrebonne.

All South was chosen among five engineering firms by ranking the best in a grading rubric, with its score of 93 out of a possible 110 points beating out the next closest, Solutient, which had 86 points. All South’s low price made the difference with its low price of about $6,100, substantially less than the next-lowest offer of $9,900 from BBEC.

All South will be in charge of overseeing the day-to-day operations of the two projects, which will elevate two repetitive loss properties and two severe repetitive loss properties, according to Terrebonne Parish Recovery Planner Jennifer Gerbasi. Gerbasi said the four properties have already been chosen, but while the parish has secured money for the repetitive loss properties, it is still waiting for the money on the severe repetitive loss ones, although Terrebonne has been selected to receive the federal dollars. All South will now have to get engineering done, get permits for the work and present the projects before the parish council for final approval before construction can begin on the properties, which is usually a six to nine month process in its entirety, according to Gerbasi.

Elevation projects funded through disaster funds from hurricanes, such as Isaac, Gustav or Ike, require a 25 percent match from homeowners. Homeowners in the National Flood Insurance Program are eligible could be eligible for increased cost of compliance coverage if the parish declares a home substantially damaged. If the homeowner comes up to code, the coverage will offer $30,000 to use on rebuilding, which many use to pay for the match on an elevation project.

According to Gerbasi, there is an issue where property owners have been asked to finish elevating a property before confirming they are eligible for the ICC money, which puts them in a position to make a large financial commitment without the certainty of getting the reimbursement. She said the National Flood Insurance Advocates office has been working with insurance agents to allow them to advise people if they would indeed get that money afterward before they begin rebuilding so they know ahead of time.

Gerbasi said aside from the ICC issue, homeowners interested in elevating their homes to protect themselves and their property from floodwaters should check into how much rebuilding and elevation projects cost before approaching the parish about a project.

 “I think it’s important for people to figure out what their particular situation is, how much it should cost, before they come to someone else to say, ‘Can you give me money?’ Gerbasi said. “Well, how much do you need? When do you need it by? Have you been saving for a couple years? Because you’re going to have this match.”

While any elevation money remaining from previous hurricanes can only be spent on properties that were applied for while the application window was open, Gerbasi asks any homeowners interested in mitigation programs to contact the parish’s Recovery Assistance and Mitigation Planning office at (985) 873-6565 to get a letter of interest.

Elevated home in Chauvin