Tuesday, June 19, 2018
News Roundup

St. Petersburg gets ready to celebrate lower flood insurance premiums

ST. PETERSBURG — There hasn't been a lot of good weather-related news in St. Petersburg these days, not after storms deluged and overwhelmed its sewage system.

But the city is preparing to celebrate one bit of storm-related news: The Federal Emergency Management Agency is preparing to lower the city's flood insurance costs.

"It's great news," said City Council member Darden Rice, who noted that: "51 percent of our residents live in a flood zone."

The official letter from the agency hasn't arrived yet, but the city is expecting confirmation any day now, said Rick Dunn, the city's building official and flood plain manager.

Under the national Community Rating System, or CRS, St. Petersburg's rating will drop from Class 6 to Class 5, an improvement that will save $1.7 million for the tens of thousands of residents who carry flood insurance.

A $150,000 policy should see about $120 in premium savings, Dunn said.

The CRS is a voluntary FEMA program that allows communities to receive discounts on flood insurance for upgrading their floodplain management.

Nationwide, 1,391 communities participate in the program. The program is rated 9 to 1 with 1 being the best rating. Each rung entitles residents to get another 5 percent discount on their flood insurance premiums.

For St. Petersburg, that means residents who have renewed or purchased a policy after Oct. 1 will see a 25 percent discount over residents who live in a community with a 9 rating, such as Riviera Beach.

There are only 121 Class 5 ratings across the United States, and 35 of them are in Florida.

Pinellas County attained a 5 rating this year, joining Hillsborough County. Clearwater and Tampa have 6 ratings. Largo and Pinellas Park each have a 7 rating.

St. Petersburg improved its ranking by tweaking its ordinance to require new homes in the floodplain to be built an extra 2 feet above previous requirements. Now, instead of the floor being 9 feet above sea level, Dunn said, it has to be 11 feet.

And the city has identified, through GIS mapping software, more open spaces in the city that can be used for stormwater storage.

Finally, the city has applied for a $1.2 million grant to help six homeowners in Shore Acres elevate their homes to better protect them from floodwaters.

The city has spent a lot of time recently, primarily in the council's Energy, Natural Resources and Sustainability Committee, working on long-term climate change and resiliency planning.

Rice, that committee's chairwoman, says that work is often complicated and technical, but lower flood insurance premiums are easily understood by homeowners.

"This is a very concrete, positive outcome that really shows what we're working on," she said.

Contact Charlie Frago at [email protected] or (727) 893-8459. [email protected]

Editor's note – This article has been changed to reflect the following correction: The city of St. Petersburg applied for a $1.2 million federal grant on behalf of six homeowners in Shore Acres to elevate their homes. An article in Friday's St. Pete Times section incorrectly stated the details of the flood-prevention initiative.

Comments
Rays DFA Rob Refsnyder to make room for Kevin Kiermaier

Rays DFA Rob Refsnyder to make room for Kevin Kiermaier

The Rays made official after Monday's game that CF Kevin Kiermaier would be activated on Tuesday.And to make room on the 40- and 25 man rosters, they designated for assignment OF Rob Refsnyder.Acquired from the Indians for cash considerations just be...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays journal: A 4-0 lead disappears in loss at Houston

Rays journal: A 4-0 lead disappears in loss at Houston

HOUSTON — The Rays brought up several of their top prospects so they can get as much experience as possible.And Monday that included seeing how the relentless defending champion Astros worked their way back from an early four-run deficit to sco...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella pondered upside-down pitching in 2005

Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella pondered upside-down pitching in 2005

HOUSTON — Well before the idea of using a reliever to open games, as the Rays did against the Astros Monday for the 12th time, and then bringing in a starter was even a gleam in the eyes of the current Rays staff, former manager Lou Piniella wa...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Nazi or not? Tattoo sparks Twitter storm over wounded New Port Richey veteran

Nazi or not? Tattoo sparks Twitter storm over wounded New Port Richey veteran

The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is pushing back against a social media post implying that a combat-wounded New Port Richey veteran has a Nazi symbol tattooed on his arm.In a tweet Monday afternoon, ICE officials denied the vete...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Pinellas protesters: Stop separating families at the border

Pinellas protesters: Stop separating families at the border

Protests were held on both ends of Pinellas County on Monday in opposition to the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents as they seek asylum at the U.S. border."Children are not pawns," "No kids in cages" and "I would...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Deadly Sunday for swimmers in bay area waters

Deadly Sunday for swimmers in bay area waters

Two people drowned and another suffered life-threatening injuries in the waters of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday.Investigators said all three cases appear to be accidents, but the incidents stand as a reminder that summer, with vacation ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Private Florida firm buys Rent-A-Center in $1 billion deal

Private Florida firm buys Rent-A-Center in $1 billion deal

An Orlando private equity firm has purchased lease-to-own business Rent-A-Center in a deal valued at more than $1 billion.Vintage Capital Management put a bid in for the company on Friday: $15 per share, $1 per share above its previous offer. Rent-A-...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Report: 40 percent of Florida property will be ‘highly exposed’ to flooding

Report: 40 percent of Florida property will be ‘highly exposed’ to flooding

One of Florida’s biggest draws is also one if its biggest liabilities — its coastline. A new report projects that Florida is at the greatest risk of any state for tidal flooding caused by rising sea levels. And Tampa Bay faces some of the greatest ri...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Pinellas deputies arrest Mississippi man 31 years after sexual battery

Pinellas deputies arrest Mississippi man 31 years after sexual battery

SEMINOLE — She was 22 when deputies said a man forced her at knifepoint into the woods off Seminole Boulevard and sexually battered her in February 1987.The case went cold, but now the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said it has arrested the man it ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Iceland World Cup Fever … catch it!

Iceland World Cup Fever … catch it!

TAMPA — Iceland isn't what it used to be. Literally. The Nordic island country is shrinking, what with global warming. Iceland's glaciers are getting smaller. If you took all that ice and laid it end to end, well, you clearly have nothing bette...
Updated: 7 hours ago