New Flood Maps Causing Concern

By Danielle Krout

Published 12/11 2013 07:33PM

Updated 12/11 2013 07:46PM

JOHNSTOWN, CAMBRIA COUNTY - The government has changed the flood maps in Johnstown- and now some residents say they're paying for it with a hefty increase."
"You just can't afford a hit like this," Johnstown Resident Gerald Basko says.
And not just any hit. How about a 542% increase?
Gerald Basko received a letter from FEMA recently saying his flood insurance annually was going up from about a thousand dollars to more than 6,700 dollars a year, all because the government says his building in Ferndale is in a flood zone now according to the redrawn maps.
"Which boils down to over $500 a month and I can't absorb something like that," Basko says.
Basko says he's tried calling FEMA to get to the bottom of this especially since the building has never been affected by a flood not even in the 1977 one.
"The water was a block away from the building so how did they justify it being in a flood area let alone 542% increase," Basko says.
Basko says he isn't alone when it comes to wanting answers on the increase.
Senator Bob Casey says they're working to get people some relief.
“What we're trying to do with this legislation is provide a measure of relief so that as these increases begin to go into effect depending who you are and what timeframe we can provide them some relief because we've got to many families that have already lived through a couple of nightmares,” Senator Bob Casey (D) says.
For Basko paying this much of an increase for insurance could affect the future of his company and other businesses in the area.
"I can't afford it I don't what we are going to do I suspect if this continues a lot of people could loose their property,” Basko says. “To be honest I don't know where to go at this point."
Casey says in Cambria County there are 642 policies that are affected by this increase and in Blair County there are 766.
Basko says he spoke to congressman Keith Rothfus who says he is also looking into the increase and what can be done about it.

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