Legislative Update 2010

2010 TCRFC Testimony

TCRFC Chair Domingo Montalvo, Jr., will testify before the Sunset Advisory Commission of the Texas Legislature on November 16, 2010. The Sunset Advisory Commission, created in 1977 by the Texas Legislature, reviews the policies and programs of more than 150 government agencies every 12 years. The Commission questions the need for each agency, looks for potential duplication of other public services or programs, and considers new and innovative changes to improve each agency’s operations and activities. The Commission also seeks public input through hearings on every agency under Sunset review and recommends actions on each agency to the full Legislature. Next year the committee will be reviewing the Texas Water Development of Board and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The TCRFC will be providing the following comments: In 2007 the 80th Legislative moved the State Coordinator role for FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to the TWDB. This included funding to improve community assistance and floodplain mapping information. For several sessions communities throughout the state and several statewide associations supported this move and worked to make it happen for many reasons. To date, the TWDB has improved community assistance, but has not taken an active role in helping communities improve their floodplain data.

To provide a more active role in helping communities update their floodplain maps, the TCRFC strongly supports TWDB setting up a Cooperating Technical Partner (CTP) program with FEMA that would allow local communities to work with TWDB to produce updated floodplain maps. A TWDB CTP program would allow cities and counties to leverage their local funds with state funds and draw down federal funds for much-needed updates to their floodplain maps. Local communities are willing to find funds to help provide a 25% match in order to obtain federal dollars to update our local floodplain data with vital information.

The cities of Dallas and Austin, and Harris and Bexar Counties are actively participating directly with FEMA as CTP’s to improve their floodplain maps. However, Texas’ smaller cities, counties, and rural communities do not have the resources to do this. They need the help of TWDB to work with them to partner with FEMA’s Cooperating Technical Partner program and gain access to federal matching funds to produce updated floodplain map information.

Many states have statewide CTP programs and are drawing down millions of federal dollars to improve floodplain mapping information. Texas needs to get its fair share of these federal funds. The TCRFC supports Recommendation 4.1 in the Sunset Staff Report because we believe that this change will allow the TWDB CTP program to move forward as intended by the 80th Legislature.

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