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"I'm confident," Lee County leaders change tone on FEMA flood insurance battle

Lee County leaders say they've had positive conversations with FEMA representatives in recent days.
Lee County Commissioners change tone on FEMA
FEMA flood insurance
Posted at 5:10 PM, Apr 16, 2024

FORT MYERS, Fla — Lee County leaders now say they are having positive conversations with FEMA, after the federal agency stripped the county and four local municipalities of a discount on flood insurance.

“I’m very confident we’ll retain our rate,” Commissioner Kevin Ruane said on Tuesday.

Lee County Commissioners get update on FEMA flood insurance
Lee County Commissioners get update on FEMA flood insurance

The Board of County Commissioners heard an update from County Manager Dave Harner, who says he’s had several conversations with FEMA representatives in recent weeks.

Last week, FEMA gave Lee County a 30-day extension to provide requested documents.

The agency said a lack of documentation and too much unpermitted work were the reasons for the retrograde.

Lee County leaders have long denied FEMA’s accusations.

“We absolutely have the permits. We absolutely did the code enforcement efforts,” said Commissioner Brian Hamman.

FEMA flood insurance

County staffers reported Tuesday the county issued more than 2,000 violations for unpermitted work in the Special Flood Hazard Area.

Harner told the board he now has weekly phone calls with Florida Senator Rick Scott.

The Naples Republican has been critical of FEMA’s decision to strip the county of its flood insurance discount.