The Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners has recently announced that the County has launched floodplain management software for all 17 towns participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS).
In 2020 the County was awarded a $125,000 New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (NJDCA) LEAP Challenge Grant for CRS management software. The Commissioner’s utilized the grant money, along with $104,000 through CARES Act funding, to acquire the Forerunner’s Floodplain Management Platform, which is designed to manage the floodplain compliance and outreach in communities. Forerunner was created as a tool to help plan for resiliency, create a more effective workflow for planners in municipalities and reduce flood insurance premiums for residents.
“Through receiving the LEAP Challenge Grant and utilizing CARES Act funds, Monmouth County was able to procure the Forerunner CRS management software,” said Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone, liaison to the Monmouth County Office of Shared Services. “Through shared service agreements, the County has been able to offer the Forerunner software to the 17 participating towns at no cost for three years, saving taxpayer dollars. The Forerunner software program will be a great asset for our municipalities.”
The Forerunner CRS management software program was activated for all participating towns at the end of December 2020. Towns using Forerunner will receive direct credits in CRS for using the software and a wide variety of additional credits for flood mitigation activities, which are facilitated through its use. Participating municipalities will be able to manage their CRS responsibilities with ease, reducing further challenges to executing effective floodplain management.
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“Flooding causes an enormous amount of property damage to homes and businesses. Recent coastal flood events in the County have resulted in an estimated $10 billion in property damage,” said Commissioner Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the Division of Planning. “By participating in the program, a town can earn CRS points that can be used to lower the flood insurance premiums for homeowners and businesses located within designated flood hazard areas.”
The CRS is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management practices that exceed the minimum requirements of the NFIP, which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Towns in the CRS are scored on their effectiveness in dealing with the mitigation of flood risk. Better scores result in lower flood insurance premiums for residents.
Monmouth County instituted the CRS Assistance Program in 2014 to provide assistance to municipalities that participate in the CRS. The Monmouth County Division of Planning and the Monmouth County Office of Emergency Management have partnered to offer their professional and technical expertise in hazard mitigation, community planning, public outreach and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping to all Monmouth County municipalities participating in or actively pursuing entry into the CRS.
Other notable accomplishments of the Monmouth County CRS Assistance Program include the High Water Mark and Know Your Zone initiatives designed to increase community awareness of flood risk and evacuation zones. The High Water Mark initiative has distributed approximately 100 signs throughout the shore towns on public and private properties to show the high water mark from past flooding events. The Know Your Zone campaign informs residents and businesses about the four hurricane evacuation zones.
“Flooding is one of the most frequent hazards that impacts Monmouth County with over 125 recorded flooding events since 1996. Flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance,” said Commissioner Director Arnone. “We encourage our municipalities participating in the CRS to utilize and County’s CRS Assistance Program to attain support, technically and financially, to promote mitigation preparedness and activities in special flood hazard areas.”
Residents that have questions or need additional information about CRS should contact their local Floodplain Administrator through their municipal office.
For more information about the Monmouth County CRS Assistance Program, go to www.visitmonmouth.com..