Community Rating System assistance program guidelines approved

FREEHOLD, NJ – The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Monmouth County Sheriff have an initiative to assist towns seeking to advance their Community Rating System (CRS) ranking in an effort to lower flood insurance premiums for residents and businesses in those communities.

The CRS ranking program, which is run by FEMA through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), scores communities on their effectiveness in dealing with flood plain management and development. Towns that take action steps to increase their resiliency to future storm events can help residents and businesses increase their eligibility for policy holder discounts.

On Thursday, March 13, the Board of Chosen Freeholders adopted guidelines that reiterate the NFIP policy which places the responsibility for managing a CRS program on a municipality.

“The County is offering the services of our professional staff to help local officials with some of the more technical aspects of the program, including GIS mapping,” said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry.

The Monmouth County Office of Emergency Management, in partnership with the County’s Division of Planning, developed the program guidelines that offer professional and technical assistance to municipalities that wish to participate in the County’s Community Rating System Assistance Program.

“This initiative is vital, since many homeowners and businesses may see an increase in flood insurance premiums as the new FEMA Flood Maps are adopted,” said Sheriff Shaun Golden. “The overall goal of this initiative is to improve the ranking of those towns already in the CRS program as well as bring more towns into CRS that might not have the resources to do so.”

Municipal participation in the program is voluntary and many of the coastal towns that have expressed an interest in becoming a participant in the CRS program have already begun the documentation gathering process.

“The County services being provided do not replace a town’s responsibility to manage the program, but allows them to earn additional points for efforts they might not be able to perform in-house,” said Freeholder Serena DiMaso, liaison to the County’s Office of Emergency Management.

Currently there are eight Monmouth County towns that are part of the CRS program. The towns are: Aberdeen, Bradley Beach, Hazlet, Manasquan, Middletown, Oceanport, Spring Lake and Union Beach.

When a municipality applies and is accepted into the CRS program, flood insurance premiums for residents and businesses located in special flood hazard areas can be reduced.

For a complete list of guidelines please visit www.monmouthsheriff.org and click on the OEM link or access the CRS program page from the Monmouth County Division of Planning website.

Residents having questions or needing additional information about CRS should contact their local Floodplain Administrator through their municipal office.