tbo: Tampa Bay Online.
Friday, Aug 18, 2017

Flood insurance hike would ‘devastate’ St. Pete, Foster tells Scott

St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster told Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet on Tuesday that a bill in Congress aimed at reducing a $24 billion deficit in the National Flood Insurance Program would devastate his city.

“And words like ‘devastate’ are not an exaggeration,” Foster said.

The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act would increase premiums for more than 15,000 households in the city, much of which is located in flood zones.

While Foster admitted “this is truly a federal issue,” he said Scott and other cabinet officials – Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam – need to encourage the state’s congressional delegation to “just hit pause.”

He also asked Bondi to take legal action as a last resort.

Foster has asked others, including Pinellas County Administrator Bob LaSala, to join a task force to oppose the bill.

The mayor has said premium increases will dampen the real estate market recovery and cause hardship for thousands of city residents.

Foster, a Republican, also is campaigning for re-election this year.

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