Monday, February 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
Girl, 12, sister of murder victim, calls relative after being reported missing

Girl, 12, sister of murder victim, calls relative after being reported missing

Seven months ago, Jalyssa Shannon’s older sister Janessa went missing, sparking a frantic search that ended with the discovery of the 13-year-old’s body in a Hillsborough County nature preserve and, later, the arrest of the girls’ father in her murde...
Updated: 30 minutes ago

High school scoreboard for Feb. 19

Monday’s scoreboardSoftballSpringstead 11, Central 0
Updated: 2 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Mon., Feb. 19, midday:46 278 6907e_SRit78769Mon., Feb. 19, evening:59 597 4363e_SRit97936Fantasy 5Mon., Feb. 19...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Updated: 2 hours ago
Water Wars starting to simmer again in Tampa Bay

Water Wars starting to simmer again in Tampa Bay

CLEARWATER — A simmering feud between Tampa and the regional water authority avoided boiling over Monday, but little was resolved.At a Tampa Bay Water meeting, board members requested Tampa work with the agency on the city’s plan to convert tens of m...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Ex-workers at Russian ‘troll factory’ trust U.S. indictment

Ex-workers at Russian ‘troll factory’ trust U.S. indictment

Associated PressST. PETERSBURG, Russia — While Russian officials scoff at a U.S. indictment charging 13 Russians with meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, several people who worked at the same St. Petersburg, Russia, "troll factory" say t...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Man sought in sexual assault of woman, 71, in New Port Richey

Man sought in sexual assault of woman, 71, in New Port Richey

NEW PORT RICHEY — Deputies are searching for a man who they said broke into a home and raped a 71-year-old woman on Monday.The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said the woman was checking on a home at 7437 Heather St. for the homeowner at about 8:15 a.m...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Trump offers support for limited effort on background checks

Trump offers support for limited effort on background checks

Associated PressWEST PALM BEACH — From the confines of his Mar-a-Lago golf club, President Donald Trump offered support Monday for a limited strengthening of federal background checks on gun purchases while staying largely mum in the past few days ab...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Puerto RicoJudge grants $300M loan for power companyA federal judge on Monday approved a $300 million loan for Puerto Rico’s power company that officials say will help keep the troubled agency operating until late March. The judge had originally reje...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Grief-filled funerals also can be cathartic

Grief-filled funerals also can be cathartic

PARKLAND — Each funeral for the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High massacre is different, yet the same: the mourning relatives, teens walking in clutches wearing black, politicians paying their respects, media cameras pointing at the entran...
Updated: 3 hours ago