MERRILLVILLE | The town's Stormwater Utility wants to reduce insurance premiums for Merrillville residents who are required to obtain flood insurance.
Federal Emergency Management Agency maps released last year show 732 Merrillville parcels are designated in a flood plain, and owners of those properties must have flood insurance, according to the town.
Matt Lake, executive director of Merrillville's Stormwater Utility, said he has started the process for Merrillville to become a participant in the National Flood Insurance Program's community rating system.
Participating communities receive points based on activities from four categories — public information, mapping and regulations, flood damage reduction and flood preparedness, according to FEMA.
Communities are placed into classes based on the points received.
A class 1 community would receive a 45 percent premium discount on flood insurance, Lake said. The discounts decrease in 5 percent increments. The lowest discount available to participating communities would be a 5 percent discount for class 9 communities.
Lake said "there's nothing to lose" by participating in the program because the town would at least obtain a class 9 designation, which would provide some relief for residents who need flood insurance.
Lake is expected to meet with the Division of Water from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources today to start Merrillville's involvement in the community rating system.
The entire process takes about a year to complete.
"We want to get started as soon as possible," Lake said.
He hopes other local communities will participate in the community rating system to obtain the potential benefits for other area residents.