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Jeff Brandes to file flood mitigation bill

State Sen. Jeff Brandes says he will file legislation for the 2017 Legislative Session to fund flood mitigation in affected communities.

The idea is to lower the cost of flood insurance by decreasing flood severity in areas covered by the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) Community Rating System.

The legislation will create a matching grant program, in part through the state’s Land Acquisition Trust Fund, for “local projects (that) reduce flood risks and acquire conservation land for the purpose of mitigating flood risk,” Brandes’ office said in a statement.

Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican, backed a bill last year (SB 1094) that became law that “require(s) local governments to include development and redevelopment principles, strategies, and engineering solutions that reduce flood risks and losses within coastal areas.”

The matching grants, to be administered by the Division of Emergency Management, would not exceed $50 million a year for “technical and financial assistance to local governments implementing flood risk reduction policies and projects.”

His bill also would authorize the Florida Communities Trust to “undertake, coordinate, or fund flood mitigation projects and to acquire and dispose of real and personal property or specified interest when necessary or appropriate to reduce flood hazards.”

Pinellas County residents and others living along Florida’s coasts have long sought affordable flood insurance.

In 2014, Brandes told the Tampa Tribune some homeowners faced insurance premiums so costly, “it would be the equivalent of paying off their home every 5-7 years, even though they haven’t had a flood in 40 years.”

 

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