Residents in Avalon will now be eligible to receive a 25 percent discount on their flood insurance premiums.
Suzanne Cunningham said, "This is fabulous, fabulous news...real relief." Suzanne and Tom Cunningham are Avalon residents whose home sustained severe damage during Hurricane Sandy. Tom Cunningham explained, "We didn't know where to start. We simply just went to work and tore out the kitchen, tore out the floor. So we did all the work that needed to be done and took care of everything and got in by Memorial Day."
But the Cunningham family may not have been able to get their house back in order so quickly if it wasn't for flood insurance, which can get pricey in towns like Avalon.
But now, the town has just received a draft report that indicates the borough will be approved as a "Class 5" community, translating into over 1 million in savings for property owners throughout the community.
Mayor Marty Pagliughi said, "We were excited two years ago when we got 20 percent and this is really coming at an opportune time because of the increase in the federal flood insurance program, which is going to kick in over the next four years."
Avalon was able to earn the extra insurance savings by working hard to meet several standards set by the Community Rating System.
Pagliughi told NBC40, "They will check ordinances, they will check building permits, they will go out and look and see capital improvements that the borough has done. The big thing is to keep up with the floodplain management - that is key."
Because Avalon officials have worked so hard to keep their homeowners' properties safe, Avalon residents now say these savings are just what they needed after Hurricane Sandy. Suzanne said, "I'm glad I'm part of it and getting this opportunity and advantage to save some money. Every little bit helps."
And Avalon officials plan to keep the savings coming. Pagliughi said, "I think the next step for us is we are going to continue to go until we get to 30% discount. That would be a class 4 and that is what we are going to strive for."