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

Commissioners voted Tuesday to give county staff “any and all tools” to appeal FEMA’s decision to end a key 25% discount on flood insurance for 4 cities and the county.
Posted at 3:28 PM, Apr 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-02 16:53:12-04

Lee County Commissioners voted Tuesday to give county staff “any and all tools” needed to investigate and work to address FEMA’s decision to end a 25% discount on flood insurance.

The county announced late last week that FEMA chose to eliminate the discount for unincorporated Lee County residents, along with residents of several cities and towns in the county.

“Hurricane Ian knocked us down. And FEMA is kicking while we are down,” said Commissioner Brian Hamman.

County Manager Dave Harner gave a timeline of his discussions with FEMA, including the phone call he received last Thursday.

“At no time were we notified we were in jeopardy of being retrograded,” Harner said.

FEMA claims a large amount of unpermitted work, a lack of documentation and a failure to properly monitor activity in special flood hazard areas since Hurricane Ian are some of the reasons why the discount is going away.

County leaders dispute those allegations.

“We thought we were complying with everything they were asking us to do,” said Board Chairman Mike Greenwell. “If that’s not the case, then why was there not more dialogue?”

According to Harner, he was notified the decision by FEMA was final with no chance for an appeal.

“We will find a way to appeal on behalf of the people of Lee County who will see these increases,” said Hamman.

“We are going to fight for them.”