Pasco County Estimates $89M In Hurricane Damages
Pasco County has identified about $89 million in damages from Hurricane Hermine, making this one of the costliest disasters in Pasco County.
Pasco County Emergency Management documented 2,672 homes and properties impacted by the storm, most with some level of flood damage.
AFFECTED - 796
* Properties that had storm-related issues that didn't necessarily cause damage, i.e., downed trees, yard flooding, etc.
MINOR DAMAGE - 1,564
* Homes that have flooding with water up to the electrical sockets; homes that have downed trees touching the roof
MAJOR DAMAGE - 305
* Homes that have flooding with water from the electrical sockets up to doorknobs; homes that have trees through the roof
DESTROYED - 7 (This number has been reduced. Some homes were moved into another category after further evaluation.)
* Homes that have flooding with water above doorknobs; homes that have part of the roof or walls missing due to falling trees
Kevin Guthrie, Pasco County Emergency Services Director, said residents need to plan with the expectation of flooding.
"Residents in Pasco County flood,” Guthrie said. “And if you move into this area, you need to buy flood insurance. You never know what's going to happen."
Many of the same homes flooded during last summer's heavy rain.
County officials say a stormwater tax increase is needed to fix the infrastructure to prevent future flooding. It was raised from $47 to $57 last year, but Kathryn Starkey, a Pasco County Commissioner, said it'll still take a long time to repair the infrastructure at the current annual fee.
"It will take 93 years to clean out all these ponds, clean out all these ditches, fix the culverts,” Starkey said. “We have an issue in Pasco County so we can't offer the level of service I would like to see with the amount of funding we have right now."
A stormwater tax increase to $80 per year was proposed earlier this year, but did not pass.
County officials have applied for state and federal funds to help offset the cost for repairs to properties and roads.
The county has also extended its local state of emergency for another seven days.