Page images
PDF
EPUB

а.

Mr. PARSELLS. I would merely like to make 2 or 3 suggestions to your committee.

First, I hope that any program which you adopt will be a voluntary program.

Second, if the task turns out to be so great, as it may well turn out to be, that you are unable to insure the total risk, that at least you adopt a limited-risk program, limited in amount. Also make it possible for private companies to handle this insurance, if you can. Naturally, in the city of Hartford I would not suggest anything else.

Third, the premium paid for insurance should bear a direct relationship to the risk as affected by the location and by susceptibility to flooding. That ties in directly with my fourth suggestion, which is that flood insurance should not be made so attractive as to defeat the desire of the States that people and businesses in areas susceptible to flooding should gradually relocate outside of the flood-prone areas.

We have had a flood-recovery committee in Connecticut, and one of the things we are recommending is to make money available to some of these industries to retool and, if possible, to locate outside of the flood-prone area.

Senator LEHMAN. Would you do that by rezoning?
Mr. PARSELLS. By rezoning and redevelopment; yes, sir.

If flood insurance is made so attractive that people feel they are 100 percent protected, it may deter that program.

Lastly, it seems to me any flood-insurance program should be tied in with a flood-prevention program. The thing we need here in Connecticut is to have our ríverbeds dredged and our river channels widened, where possible. We need protective dams, both big and little, and the other facilities necessary to prevent damage from flooding

As I am sure you have been told, New England has not received its fair share of Federal money in the past. I hope that condition is coming to an end, and that we will receive money in large amounts for flood-prevention projects. I think flood insurance is most important, but even more important than flood insurance is flood prevention; and whatever you can do I am sure the people of Connecticut will be most grateful for.

Thank you very much, Senator.
Senator LEHMAN, Senator Bush.
Senator Bush. I have no questions.

Senator LEHMAN. That was an excellent statement you made. I want to comment on just a few things.

You say, “The premium paid for insurance should bear a direct relationship to the risk as affected by location and by susceptibility to flooding.” That is included in the bill I presented. I am not sure whether it is in the other bills. It increases the discretion in the setting of rates so that the rates are not rigid and uniform but are variable at the discretion of the administrator, whoever that may be.

Mr. PARSELLS. As the last gentleman said, that makes it more nearly insurance.

Senator LEHMAN. Again I want to say we are very much in sympathy with flood control, and as individuals we can take a part in that, but this committee, of course, has no control over that.

Mr. PARSELLS. Thank you.
Mr. EDELSTEIN. Mayor Quigley.

STATEMENT OF THOMAS F. J. QUIGLEY, MAYOR,

STAMFORD, CONN.

Mayor QUIGLEY. I have a short statement here, Mr. Chairman, which I would like to read.

I think we are all familiar with the facts in this case and are trying to get a remedy: I think everybody agrees that the disaster which hit Connecticut in August and also October

Senator Bush. Might I make just a comment before the mayor starts? We are going to have several of our mayors here today, and I would like to make one general comment affecting all of them. I do not want to take up time with each one, but I do feel that these men have had the most extraordinary responsibility placed upon them due to these floods. I have had the advantage of seeing them under very great pressure, carrying responsibilities far beyond anything that any of them were ever elected to take care of. I think in the case of each one of them, their performance has been perfectly inspiring and it has been a great thrill to the citizens of their communities to see how people can measure up to the responsibilities that come when we have a catastrophe in a community.

I make that statement about the present witness and all of these succeeding men whose names are on this list. I think the State of Connecticut can be very proud of the performance of its mayors in this recent disaster.

I thank the chairman for the privilege of making that statement.

Mayor QUIGLEY. I certainly appreciate your kind remarks, Senator, because if ever the communities of Connecticut have lived a life, we have lived it over here in the last few months, together with our people.

As I said before, we all understand the facts and we are here to ask for help, both from Washington and Hartford. I have a short statement to make, with the feeling that you people in Washington will give us every consideration in getting some remedy not only for the future, but for today, if possible.

There appears to be unanimity of thought among officials of government in our State that congressional remedial action is required to meet the toll of disaster, whether it be flood, or hurricane, or tornado or earthquake. We must prepare to compensate our States, our cities and our people for loss sustained through natural calamities.

I heartily subscribe to the reinsurance proposals and other suggestions made by Governor Ribicoff, guaranteeing protection against all types of disaster to all sections of the United States.

As a member of the United States conference of mayors delegation to the International Assembly in Rome only a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to see the great recovery being made in Italy from the ravages of war and flood. That recovery would not be possible without both Federal and private funds flowing into Italy from the United States.

As the mayor of a city which suffered more than $6 million in flood damage, not to mention the heartbreak swept in the wake of such disaster, I feel that the people of Stamford—and the people of the United States are entitled to the same opportunity to rebuild as we afford our beneficiaries in Europe.

Remember that the state of our Nation's economic and social strength is determined by the conditions existing in our local communities. Cities such as Stamford are limited by law to raising revenues for public expenditures almost exclusively to ad valorem real-estate taxes. We cannot begin to hope to match the vastly more productive and varied methods of taxation enjoyed by our Federal and State Governments.

Naturally, self-sufficiency is a state to which we in government all aspire. But because of our limited sources of revenue, the cities which suffer in time of disaster must look to the State and Nation for assistance. That aid must be immediate enough, extensive enough, and humane enough to restore a semblance of normalcy to our economy and to our private lives.

Long-range flood-control programs, while necessary, are not the answer to the threat of disaster. Since the well-being of the whole community is affected when a portion of its people is crushed by disaster, the whole community must participate and share in the burden of a program for recovery. :

It all adds up to a need for a general disaster insurance to be set up by the Federal Government, possibly with the participation of private insurance companies, to protect our industry, our States, our cities, our homes, and our people against the kind of loss we suffered during the disastrous floods of August and October 1955.

Mr. Chairman, I would like to make this statement a part of the record. I appreciate your men coming here. If we would tell you these stories of what we need we would be here for days. We humbly put ourselves in your hands in Washington on the basis of what we would like to do for the other fellow if he were in our shoes. We must face something new. If it costs something to face it, we should do it now.

The reinsurance plan is an excellent one. Whatever the cities have to recapture in the way of Federal aid and State aid is paramount, but we must not forget that the citizen is our community. We must make some awards to the little fellow, whether they be direct grants from the Government or in the form of reinsurance, or both.

Thank you very much.
Senator LEHMAN. Thank you indeed, Mayor.

Mr. EDELSTEIN. The Honorable James Kinsella, deputy mayor of Hartford.

STATEMENT OF JAMES KINSELLA, DEPUTY MAYOR,

HARTFORD, CONN. Mayor KINSELLA. Mr. Chairman and Senator. If it pleases the Chair, may I read something to insure both brevity and clarity, I hope?

The city of Hartford is remarkably fortunate in that it suffered only a little over $5 million in damage, but we are also extremely unfortunate in that the size of the city in square miles is perhaps smaller than any other community in the county, so every acre of land is previous to us.

Senator LEHMAN. Could you talk a little louder, Mayor!

Mayor KINSELLA. We would like to insure, or have the Government insure, the city of Hartford and its people and industry against the recurrent loss caused by these catastrophes. Of course, no one can stop the catastrophes themselves, but the resulting damage can be stopped or mitigated by the action of your committee. We would hate to see industries leave the capital city of the State because of the danger of losing large amounts of money if they are located within the city in the vicinity of our rivers.

The State is now working on flood control, as is the city of Hartford, but we feel in the city that insurance against financial loss is the obligation of the Federal Government. We certainly hope and ask that you adopt whatever legislation you think proper, but legislation which will insure the people and industries of the city of Hartford against the kind of loss that they have suffered.

Thank you, gentlemen.

Senator LEHMAN. Have you any concrete suggestions to make as to what kind of legislation we can have? I want to point out it is not the responsibility or within the power of this committee to pass legislation. That comes from the two Houses of Congress and the President.

Mayor KINSELLA. I am well aware of that, sir, and I think the legislation you have proposed is excellent, particularly in view of the fact that the insurance which we are trying to get for the people of this area—the small-home owners and the small businesses—the limit which you have placed on it would for the most part take care of everyone within this area. Perhaps I am being a bít chauvinistic toward the city of Hartford, but that is all I represent. Yours is the larger task. Senator LEHMAN. Have you any questions, Senator Bush?

Senator Bush. I was going to ask Mayor Kinsella, under the State law permitting local zoning regulations, has Hartford taken any steps in connection with flood zoning regulations?

Mayor KINSELLA. Yes. We have proposed and our city planning commission suggested those areas around unprotected streams, which may be flooded, be zoned to insure a minimum loss in both property and life, of course. We have for the most part industrialized those particular areas, but in some areas the city is so built that such relocation is impossible, Senator. We are doing everything we possibly

. Senator LEHMAN. I want to ask you one more question, Mr. Kinsella. You referred to a loss of $5 million, I think, in this flood. Am I correct or am I imagining things? Did you not have a very bad flood here about 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 years ago?

Mayor KINSELLA. In 1936, and then again in 1938, Senator, the Connecticut River overflowed its banks.

Senator LEHMAN. Yes. Mayor KINSELLA. But due to the prompt and very farsighted action of such men as Mr. Putnam and Charles Cook and Thomas Pelasi, the Connecticut River was protected from the city, or conversely, by a large dike, which now assures us of protection in the downtown area for all except extremely bad catastrophes; so we have been fortunate in that respect.

Senator Bush. That dike stood up very well in the 1955 flood; did it not?

Mayor KINSELLA. The comment was made that the dike, which cost $10 million or $11 million, paid for itself 3 times over in August 1955.

Senator LEHMAN. Thank you very much.
Mayor KINSELLA. Thank you.

can.

Mr. EDELSTEIN. The Honorable James Casey, mayor of Bristol.

STATEMENT OF JAMES P. CASEY, MAYOR, BRISTOL, CONN. Mayor CASEY. Honorable Senators Lehman and Bush, it is a pleasure to be able to come here and bring to you the little problems of our communities here in Connecticut during these storms we have had in August and October.

Historian Arnold J. Toynbee on a trip through Connecticut some years ago had this to say, and I quote:

I was once traveling in a rural part of the State of Connecticut when I came across a deserted village-a not uncommon spectacle in those parts, as I was told, yet a spectacle which is nevertheless surprising and disconcerting to a European. For some two centuries, perhaps, Town Hill—such was its name-had stood with its plank-built Georgian church in the middle of the village green, its cottages, its orchards, and its cornfields. The church still stood, preserved as an ancient monument, but the houses had vanished, the fruit trees had gone wild, and the cornfields had faded away.

Town Hill, it may interest you to know, is on an extremely high elevation in the New Hartford-Torrington area and at this moment nothing remains of the Georgian church which Toynbee observed but its basement foundations and a bronze plaque which now marks its location. The church is gone and the village green is overgrown and uncared for.

Persons familiar with Connecticut's early history will explain the demise of Town Hill to the fact that the farmers left their acres on the high hills and went down into the valley to work in the shops that had sprung up on the river banks early in the 19th century.

The shops were built along the banks to avail themselves of the abundant waterpower which the rushing brooks and streams provided. Waterpower, in the days of our great-grandfathers, was the miracle force which turned the wheels of industry, just as atomic energy may be the miracle force to take up men's burdens in the days which lie ahead for our grandchildren.

Despite the face that the reason for their presence along the river banks no longer exists, industries in the State continue to carry their expansion programs in the same locality. Hence, they are subjected to repeated devastation by waters on the rampage.

With the availability of electricity through the use of atomic energy, industry of the future will not be limited to riverside or lowland locations.

It is no secret that other sections of the country have been wooing Connecticut industry, and in order for Connecticut to remain a stable industrial community we must offer them all the security and protection at our command.

In a 16-year period Connecticut was reported to have paid to the Federal Government $5,267,393,000 and had returned to it a mere $397,267,000, on a $7-for-$100 basis.

In 1953 Connecticut citizens paid the Government in Washington $1,228 million and got back in the form of Federal grants and subsidies a mere $32 million.

Permit me to state here that these more than generous contributions by Connecticut citizens to the Federal Treasury were not made to defray the costs of Government, but such funds were actually used to create industrial areas such as TVA where, under the guise of

« PreviousContinue »