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Cape mayor calls FEMA "villains," says cancelled discount could cost millions

The mayor says this is a total loss of around $8 million & affects people like Rich, who told his Cape Coral Community Correspondent's Colton Chavez that he already pays too much for flood insurance.
Posted at 5:43 PM, Apr 03, 2024

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — On Wednesday, Cape Coral Mayor John Gunter fired back at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for pulling Cape Coral's 25% flood insurance discount, effective October 1, 2024.

“Again, I will reiterate, they are the villains,” said Mayor Gunter.

“They (FEMA) felt that we (City of Cape Coral) didn't do everything possible. One of the things that was quite troubling to me is they had no information to provide, and we asked for that information," said Mayor Gunter.

On Wednesday, the Mayor said that means a total loss of around $8 million for people like Rich. He tells Fox 4's Cape Coral Community Correspondent, Colton Chavez, he already pays too much for flood insurance.

“It’s kind of a necessity if you want to live down here by the water. It has pretty much doubled from what it was in previous years,” he says.

Team Coverage on Insurance Discount Debate:
March 29: Lee Co. leaders call 'late' flood insurance change 'devastating'

April 2: "We are going to fight:" Lee Co. leaders appeal lost flood insurance discount

April 3: 'PROOF': FEMA claims Lee County didn't comply; leaders reply with documents

April 3: "We are discouraged!" 4 US lawmakers tell FEMA to reinstate flood insurance discount

According to the mayor, the city received a letter from FEMA three months after Hurricane Ian which questioned if 238 properties were substantially damaged by the storm.

Since then, Mayor Gunter said the city has resolved all but 54 of those requested properties for FEMA.

Gunter claimed the federal agency said those remaining 54 properties are out of compliance in the eyes of FEMA’s flood insurance program (NFIP).

“I want to make sure that we do everything possible to make sure that we are able to prove that the allegations that they have made just simply aren't true," said Mayor Gunter.

Since that first letter from December of 2023, Mayor Gunter said FEMA never said anything about the city’s 25% discount being in jeopardy - until they met with FEMA last Thursday, March 28.

“First we heard of it was Thursday afternoon in that discussion,” said Mayor Gunter.

On Wednesday, Mayor Gunter said the City of Cape Coral and Lee County leaders were reaching out for support from state leaders to help in their fight against FEMA.

“We know at a quick glance of the properties that they have outlined...we know what they are saying is inaccurate,” said Mayor Gunter.