HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Horry County residents will save some money next year when it comes to their flood insurance premiums.

The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency determined that after years of implementing flood mitigation programs, Horry County qualifies for a 25% discount on flood insurance programs, which starts April 1.

“We’re just over the moon,” said April O’Leary, the founder of Horry County Rising. “We’re so thrilled that all of our efforts have paid off.”

Every three years, the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System, or CRS, performs a review and provides a score out of 10.

A lower CRS score means a community is working to reduce the risk of property damage due to flooding. It provides an incentive-based program that communities can take part in.

“So, the more we do, the more credits that we’d get and then the more discounts we get on the flood insurance,” O’Leary said. “And the great thing about that is how much money our taxpayers save.”

FEMA announced on Saturday that it ranked Horry County as a Class 5, which results in a 25% discount on flood insurance policies.

Since 2020, Horry County officials have implemented numerous programs to reduce the impacts of flooding in low-lying communities — like the 2021 Flood Damage Reduction Ordinance.

“And that’s a testament to Horry County Rising, but also Horry County government and all the work that we’ve put together working in conjunction with their offices and their staff,” O’Leary said.

Horry County’s CRS score has only improved, going from a nine, to a seven, and now a five.

Even after this, O’Leary still thinks the county and her organization should continue to work together on flood mitigation measures.

“Yes, we should celebrate. Yes, we should pat ourselves on the back and say ‘great job’ for all the great activities that we’ve done in recent years, but we can’t take our foot off the gas pedal,” she said. “There’s more opportunities that we can do. And our goal is to go from a five to a three and from a three to a one.”

Horry County Council will discuss the review in Tuesday’s meeting, as well as the discount that starts on April 1.

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Gracie is a multimedia journalist at News 13 and is from Cleveland, Ohio. Gracie joined the team in June 2023 after graduating from the University of Alabama in May. Follow Gracie on Facebook, Instagram and X, formerly Twitter, & read more of her work here.