When deputy clerk Kelly Smith saw how changing flood risk maps could saddle many of her Montana city's about 2,000 residents with costly new building requirements or limitations, she pondered quitting her job.

"When people get upset with the government, especially here, they complain to the office people," said Smith, who is also treasurer of Three Forks, Montana, set near the confluence of three rivers that mark the start of the Missouri River.

The city ultimately was able to secure a more than $4-million federal grant to help prepare for possible flooding — but only after it was turned down for a different resilience grant with no explanation, she said.