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Sunday, May 01, 2016

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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