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Tougher Building Codes Could Mean More Funding for Mississippi

By Daniel Cherry | Published 01 Jul 2011 01:55pm | comments
(Associated Press photo)

A bill in Congress would make states eligible for more relief money if they mandate more strict building codes. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how the changes could affect rebuilding here in Mississippi after the recent disasters.

Between tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes thousands of homes in Mississippi take a beating each year. Mike Womack is the director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. He's seen some of the worst disasters in Mississippi's history and he's convinced strong codes would be good for the state.

"It protects the citizens in the community not only because they're building safer structures in place then someone is making sure that the contractors are building to the standards that they should."

Some places are already taking matters into their own hands. The coast made their codes stronger after Katrina, and now Smithville is looking into boosting their standards after the tornado destroyed most of the town. Greg Kennedy is the mayor.

"Had we had these building codes prior to the tornado then after the tornado a lot of our residents here in town would not be having the insurance issues they're having today with their insurance companies."

New codes would mean houses would be much better suited to withstand severe weather. Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney says just talking about stronger codes is a positive move.

"I think it's a step in the right direction, and I want to make it very clear that I don't think it's an intrusion of government into anyone's life. It's just a common sense approach. We're not talking about enforcing building codes on someone's barn out in the country, that's not what this is about. This is about where you live in harm's way."

Under the proposed act, states that implement more stringent standards would be eligible for an extra 4 percent increase to their disaster grant funds.  

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(Associated Press photo)


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