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Nearly 20,000 Hillsborough County Homes Subject to Rise in Flood Insurance Rates

Hillsborough County Property Appraiser

We've already read that nearly one-third of all homes in Pinellas County may see their flood insurance rates rise because of pending changes in federal rules. Now, the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser's Office says more than 21,000 homes in that county could see their rates rise, as well.

The flood insurance reforms, known as the Biggert-Waters Act, in part require all new home buyers pay full rate for flood policies ending any subsidy the previous home owner enjoyed.

Here's the release from the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser's Office:

From the HCPA’s analysis, it has found approximately 21,800 single family parcels are eligible for subsidized flood insurance rates.  These are properties that have been constructed prior to the initiation of the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).  These Pre-FIRM properties were “grandfathered” into the programs at reduced rates and have been subsidized since the application of these FIRM dates.  For Tampa and Hillsborough County, the initial FIRM date was June 18, 1980. For Temple Terrace, the FIRM date was March 15, 1977. For Plant City, the FIRM date April 29, 1983. Of the 21,800 parcels eligible, approximately 19,000 do not front on the bay. The properties included in the above count are parcels where, to the best of the HCPA’s abilities, it indicates the buildings or improvements on the site are directly impacted by a flood hazard area of A or V classifications. The HCPA’s mapping records are for informational purposes only and do not constitute an expert opinion of a property’s actual flood hazard classification. For an expert opinion, a taxpayer should contact a qualified surveyor or engineer to be certain of their elevation and standing. The HCPA will continue to monitor and analyze this information as it moves into the implementation of the proposed Flood Insurance increases this fall. The HCPA will monitor to see how the market reacts to various types and classifications of flood hazard areas, the types of properties located in those areas and their relational movement when compared to properties located in non-hazard areas.

In June, the U.S. House voted to delay parts of the act, including putting a one-year hold on the rate changes that FEMA is rolling out. The House also approved a delay in the removal of a longstanding grandfather clause that has allowed subsidies to be carried over when properties are sold.

Gov. Rick Scott has asked both of Florida's U.S. Senators, Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, for help to ward off "the potential impact to Florida’s economy" of the act. Today, Sen. Nelson filed a bill in the Senate to delay the flood insurance rate hikes that set to begin next month.

And on Tuesday, St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster urged Gov. Scott to help get the word for a one-year pause to Congress.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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