Gov. Scott leads Pinellas rally against flood insurance hike

Rates rising by thousands of dollars

PINELLAS COUNTY - October 1 is the day many home owners will start paying much higher flood insurance premiums.

The federal government did away with subsidies for older properties in flood zones which means some people could see their rates double, triple or jump even ten-fold.

On a canal in Maderia Beach is the dream home Ray Leone and his wife always wanted.

"We wanted a house on the water, wanted a boat, wanted a pool. Wanted some place for the grandchildren to come," he said.

But the change in flood insurance rates caught him by surprise, when he got a bill upping his premium from $1800 to more than $12,000.

"At first wearing glasses, I'm thinking did I miss a digit here?"

The numbers were correct. And it's those kind of rate hikes effecting thousands of home owners, especially in Pinellas County.

That's why Governor Rick Scott came to Clearwater to lead a rally Tuesday morning at the Pinellas Realtors Organization.

He blamed the President for the trouble.

"President Obama signed a law that hurts Florida homeowners."

And then blamed him some more.

"The President can solve this problem by showing leadership and he's not willing to do it."

St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster, who noted he lives in one the effected flood zones, Shore Acres, told the crowd that the sky higher flood insurance rates will undo some of the gains made in the local real estate market.

"It will lower property values in areas we saw the most significant gains," said Foster.

Property appraiser Pam Dubov said homes all over Pinellas County will be effected. "This is about real folks.

George's and Mary's and Harry's.

Folks who are retired here, who have families, who live in 1,400 square foot homes that are no where near the water.

Ray was at the meeting, and says he's not rushing to pay that big insurance bill.

"I think they can scream and holler and we can all feel very bad for the people, but I'm just not sure anybody's going to get anything done."

Those who spoke at the rally said everyone needs to call or write their congressman to demand the legislation is postponed and reworked.


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