Frequently Asked Questions

Millage Election Information!

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Frequently Asked Questions:

 

What is the millage money going to be used for?

The funds from the millage will be used strictly for maintaining floodwalls and raising and armoring 47 miles of hurricane protection levees every seven to 10 years (also referred to as levee lifts). Funds will also be used for the Repair, Rehabilitation and Replacement (RR&R) all the mechanical hurricane protection components at three pump stations and Sector gates. R More epairs consist of repairing broken or damaged equipment such as cranes, pumps, valves and gates. On a scheduled basis, rehabilitation must be performed to mechanical equipment such as diesel engines, fuel pumps and impellers that are worn or out of tolerance. Additionally, rehabilitation includes dewatering the sector gates and concrete structures that support the pump stations in order to sandblast, repair, prime and paint all equipment that is under water. Replacement involves replacing equipment that has met its life cycle such as electrical engines, steel cables, hydraulic pumps, seals and exhaust systems.

What are SLFPA-W’s responsibilities?

The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority – West (SLFPA-W) oversees the West Jefferson Levee District and the Algiers Levee District and has jurisdiction over 80 miles of levees in the most populated areas of the West Bank of Jefferson Parish and in all of Algiers, More including 47 miles of levees that are part of the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS) and 33 miles of Mississippi River levees. SLFPA-W’s responsibilities have greatly expanded since Katrina, primarily due to new and greatly enlarged levees, new floodwalls, new floodgates and valves. In addition to three new pump station and sector gate Complexes that include the largest pump station in the world and the largest sector gate in North America.

What are SLFPA-W’s day-to-day obligations?

SLFPA-W day-to-day obligations consist of operations and maintenance (OM), such as a rigorous schedule of grass cutting, weed abatement, trimming and clearing of river batture, daily levee inspections and maintaining facilities on the levees free of trash. More Our operations also include the repair of ruts and broken concrete slope paving on the levees. On a quarterly, semiannual and annual basis SLFPA-W exercises all of its mechanical equipment including the engines that operate SLFPA-W’s pump stations and sector gates. During the winter months, staff winterizes equipment and provides required repairs and maintenance to SLFPA-W’s buildings and facilities. The highly trained crew that performs day-to-day O&M is also the crew that conducts special monitoring of the river levees in SLFPA-W’s jurisdiction during high water events to ensure that the Mississippi river levees do not breach. These same crew members secure our flood protection system before impending storms and stay behind in SLFPA-W’s safe house during hurricanes while the public evacuates to ensure that our homes and businesses stay dry.

What are SLFPA-W’s long-term obligations?

SLFPA-W long-term obligations consist of armoring and raising levees due to subsidence every seven to 10 years (also referred to as levee lifts). More This is required to keep our levees high enough (100 year protection level) to be eligible for the federally subsidized flood insurance program (FEMA accreditation), which makes this insurance possible and affordable. SLFPA-W must also Repair, Rehabilitate and Replace (RR&R) all the mechanical hurricane protection components. Repairs consist of repairing broken or damaged equipment such as cranes, pumps, valves and gates. On a scheduled basis, rehabilitation must be performed to mechanical equipment such as diesel engines, fuel pumps and impellers that are worn or out of tolerance. Additionally, rehabilitation includes dewatering the sector gates and concrete structures that support the pump stations in order to sandblast, repair, prime and paint all equipment that is under water. Replacement involves replacing equipment that has met its life cycle such as electrical engines, steel cables, hydraulic pumps, seals and exhaust systems.

What’s contained in the millage proposal in terms of mills and length of the millage?

4.75 mills for 10 years, which equates to about $4 per month for a home valued at $175,000

How is this proposal different from the one that was defeated in 2015?

Shorter term – 10 years instead of 30; lower millage – 4.75; tighter language on the ballot regarding the use of the funds generated from the millage.

What happens if the millage passes?

It will allow SLFPA-W to perform all of its long-term obligations to the levees and flood control structures that were constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and State of Louisiana. More It will allow the Authority to armor and raise the levees on a scheduled basis along with the necessary repair, rehabilitation and replacement of the system in order to maintain the FEMA certification that has enabled lower flood insurance rates for most West Jefferson homes and businesses. It will also allow us to prolong the life of the armoring products installed at full federal expense by the USACE, thus saving the SLFPA-W and taxpayers millions of dollars.

What happens if the millage fails?

There will be Insufficient funds to raise levees, which will cause some levees to fall below the required 100-year level of hurricane protection and jeopardize FEMA accreditation. This could happen as soon as 2021. More Without accreditation, the levee system would not be eligible to remain in the National Flood Insurance Program, making flood insurance increase by hundreds of dollars per year for the average property owner. The level of hurricane protection would decline and make the West Bank system vulnerable to inundation from hurricane storm surge.

What is armoring?

Armoring is a geosynthetic material that strengthens grass cover on earthen levees that prevents levees from washing away when overtopped. More The first round of armoring will be installed at full federal expense by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Subsequent raising of the levees will require new armoring that will be the responsibility of SLFPA-W.

Why isn’t another agency of the State or Parish responsible?

“In addition to $4.2 billion in federal funds, the State of Louisiana has invested over $700 million constructing the West Bank and Vicinity Hurricane Protection System. Now that the system is complete, the responsibility for Operation and Maintenance including raising the levees is the responsibility of the local levee districts. More While the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) provides oil and gas revenues to the state for hurricane protection and restoration projects, there is not enough money from GOMESA to provide for the operation and maintenance of completed projects. The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority is committed to the restoration of our coast and provide hurricane protection to communities that currently have no protection; however, there must be a commitment from local levee districts to provide the funding necessary to operate and maintain the vitally important structures within hurricane protection projects that protect our citizens, businesses and communities.” – Johnny Bradberry, CPRA Chairman, Governor’s Executive Assistant for Coastal Activities

What is levee accreditation?

Levee Accreditation is a process where the United States Army Corps of Engineers issues a Levee System Evaluation Report (NLSER) to FEMA to certify that flood protection system, like the newly built Hurricane Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS), is reasonably expected to withstand flooding from the 1% annual chance exceedance flood. More This NLSER is a requirement for receiving levee system accreditation from FEMA and acceptance into the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Our Current levee system is certified in the NFIP through June 24, 2023, at which time the certification will expire and the USACE will no longer consider the HSDRRS to be in accordance with the NFIP levee system evaluation requirements (see letter from USACE to CPRA dated June 20, 2013 in “FAQ Related Links” below).

What are the benefits of having an accredited levee system?

Accredited levee systems are accepted in to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and allows FEMA to show the Levee System on the new Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM’s) as providing protection from the base flood. More In most cases, areas are mapped into a Zone X which generates substantial savings in flood insurance (see letter from FEMA to USACE dated February 20, 2014 in “FAQ Related Links” below).

What happens if levees are not adequately maintained?

Levee districts are required to Operate and Maintain (O&M) levees as required by the Corps of Engineers in order to remain certified. This also includes raising the levees on a periodic basis. Any deviation from the requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program levee system evaluation may cause the system to lose the certification at any time prior to the expiration date. More This in turn could in the levee system no longer being shown as providing protection from the base flood on future maps (see letter from FEMA to USACE dated February 20, 2014 in “FAQ Related Links” below).

What will the new millage cost?

The new millage will cost approximately $3.96 per month for a home valued at $175,000 (See Additional Cost Scenarios Chart in “FAQ Related Links” below).

FAQ Related Links:

 

Additional Cost Scenarios Chart

Letter from USACE to CPRA dated June 20, 2013

Letter from FEMA to USACE dated February 20, 2014

 

What’s in the News:

 

NOLA.com: West Bank levee authority begins millage hike education effort

 

Some Jeff Parish residents upset they are worse off under new flood maps

 

Levees needed for the Westbank of Jefferson Parish

 

Endorsements:

  • Bureau of Governmental Research
  • Westbank Business and Industry Association
  • Homebuilders of Greater New Orleans
  • Business Council of New Orleans the River Region
  • City of Westwego
  • The Advocate
  • New Orleans Metro Association of REALTORS
  • Gambit
  • The Times-Picayune

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