TAVARES — The National Association of Counties (NACo) recently awarded Lake County with a distinguished Achievement Award, which recognizes innovative county government programs. Lake County officials received notice that the program to be honored at the annual NACo Conference on July 15 was the Flood Determination and Mapping Program.
“In addition to the pride we can take in being recognized for this initiative, receiving a NACo award benefits the department on another level. We are being recognized on a national level as a leader in developing projects that improve the quality of life for our citizens,” said Jim Stivender, Director of the Lake County Department of Public Works.
The Flood Determination and Mapping Program provides property owners with accurate data and allows County staff to add or revise a floodplain as better information comes available. The program included digitizing flood maps and scanning more than 2,000 documents. The result of the initiative is the time staff spends on flood determinations, which are needed to determine if a property is in a 100-year floodplain, is cut in half. Before flood maps were digitized, it would take staff more than 30 minutes to consult the cumbersome paper maps of varying sizes and scales.
"We are able to implement aerial photography, contours or any other type of computerized map layer to enhance our information and give us the most accurate picture of the available floodplain," said Fred Schneider, Director of the Lake County Engineering Division. "This accuracy translates to safer building and monetary savings by our citizens in flood insurance."
Since 1994, Lake County has been recognized 25 times with NACo Achievement Awards. Last year, NACo awarded the Lake County Department of Public Safety, Fire Rescue Division, for its Sharps Disposal Program, which allows a County resident to visit one of 16 fire stations to pick up a free container that promotes the safe disposal of biohazardous medical waste, such as syringes with attached needles and disposable lancets.
In addition, NACo awarded last year the Lake County Department of Environmental Services for its Home Heating Oil Recovery Program. The program encourages homeowners to join in the fight against soil and water pollution by locating and properly draining fuel oil from old tanks. The service is provided at no cost to homeowners and is financed by the Pollution Recovery Trust Fund. The fund receives money from civil penalties imposed for polluting the environment.