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W-B Twp. discusses residents’ flood woes

Summit Place dwellers hard hit by recent flooding tell of problems with insurers.

WILKES-BARRE TWP. – Township officials held out hope to Summit Place residents that they might be able to get insurance help to deal with the recent flooding.

Solicitor Bruce Phillips, hearing from some of the residents that their insurers had written the damage off as flood-related, and therefore not covered, noted that the floods had been caused as a side effect of the storm, and therefore the damage was storm-related.

Insurance policies needed to be checked, rather than the insurers’ attitude simply being accepted, because the way the policy was written might govern whether storm damage was covered, and to what extent, he told them.

The fact that none of the properties involved was located in the 100-year flood zone made it difficult for several of the property owners to get flood insurance. One woman said her agents had told her they “wouldn’t know where to start writing the policy.”

Wilkes-Barre Township will be approaching Plains Township to discuss issues related to Jade Hills, and possible water retention issues stemming from that development, Phillips noted. It would also be moving to clear some of the retention basins that were filled with debris from the most recent event, but it was noted that without changes in the runoff from Plains Township, it might not make a lot of difference the next time there is a heavy rain.

In other business, council voted to renew a contract with Spellman and Transmed ambulance service.

The service will move from a base in the fire station to a new location in the Public Works Department, as part of an in-kind arrangement that means the residents will not see a membership drive, or have to pay out of pocket any costs not met by their insurance policies.

According to the township’s legal examination, the agreement effectively means the township is paying the membership fee for the residents, and that agreement has complied with all state and federal requirements since it was introduced in 2003.

The new agreement will be drawn up by township Mayor Carl Kuren and will take effect Jan. 1.

The mayor also noted the township will hold its official tree-lighting ceremony 5 p.m. today and he invited all residents to the Watson Street municipal building location to take part.

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