Tarpon Springs, Florida -- Rick Hunter has been living in his modest Tarpon Springs home for 24 years now, surviving at least four major floods.But it's the sharp increase in federal flood insurance rates, now just days away, that he's afraid will do him in and force him to move.
"Yes, I'm very worried," said Hunter. "I'm kind of on a fixed income -- I don't have like thousands of extra dollars so it would pretty much force me out of my house, but where would you go? Who would buy this?"
It's why Hunter was glad to see the City of Tarpon Springs pass a resolution during a special meeting this week, urging state and federal lawmakers to do what they can to delay or amend the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Act of 2012.
"I'm glad that someone is trying to get somebody's ear because it's something that's going to affect a lot of people and not in a good way," said Hunter.
"We're hoping it will have more teeth," said Tarpon Springs Mayor David Archie.
Mayor Archie says the point of the resolution, sent to Florida's top state and federal lawmakers, is to express know how much of a stake they have in this too.
Pinellas will be the hardest hit county in the nation with about 30,000homes.
Tarpon leaderswant Governor Scott to use state resources to lobby against what many see as a looming economic disaster for real estate, for home owners, and ultimately, the local tax base.
"I mean that's the source of revenue for cities in terms of property taxes and, if things are going down, it's not going to help anybody," said Mayor Archie. "To me it's just something we just can't allow to happen."
Rick Hunter couldn't agree more.
"Do something to help us, the people, that can't afford the 20, 30, God knows how many extra thousands of dollars it's going to cost," said Hunter.
A panel of experts will meet at St. Petersburg College in Seminole for a seminar on the issue between 6:00 p.m and 8:00 p.m.The panel includesreal estate and banking experts as well as Pinellas County's property appraiser.