Bilirakis hosts flood insurance town hall meeting in New Port Ri - WFLA News Channel 8

Bilirakis hosts flood insurance town hall meeting in New Port Richey

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Congressman Gus Bilirakis co-hosted a town hall meeting with FEMA in New Port Richey. Congressman Gus Bilirakis co-hosted a town hall meeting with FEMA in New Port Richey.
Congressman Gus Bilirakis co-hosted a town hall meeting with FEMA in New Port Richey. Congressman Gus Bilirakis co-hosted a town hall meeting with FEMA in New Port Richey.
NEW PORT RICHEY, FL (WFLA) - Congressman Gus Bilirakis co-hosted a town hall meeting with FEMA on Wednesday, so residents could ask questions about the flood insurance rate increases.  It was standing room only at the New Port Richey city council chambers Wednesday afternoon while Bilirakis put on the town hall meeting so that citizens could voice their concerns over rising rates of the National Flood Insurance Program.

The congressman is sponsoring a bill that would ensure that the National Flood Insurance Program remains sustainable for taxpayers and affordable for homeowners.

Related: Lawmakers want more flood insurance options for Tampa Bay homeowners

The bill would cap annual premiums at the end of a 10-year phase-in to no more than the appraised value of the structure over the course of a 30-year mortgage.

"It would also allow homeowners to pay premiums on a monthly basis rather than the annual lump some premium," Bilirakis said.

Some citizens shared their stories of rate increases that are now threatening the possibility of foreclosure.

Mike Westney lives near the water and he says his rates have gone up nearly 1000 percent.

"The previous year my premium under the National Flood Insurance Program was 23 hundred dollars. I got the renewal and it's for 20 thousand 400 dollars," Westney said.

Westney says his monthly payments for insurance will now exceed his monthly mortgage payment.

He has now dropped out of the NFIP in favor of private insurance and paying only 93 hundred dollars per year.

Susan Wilson from FEMA answered questions and tried to explain why the changes have been made but often had responses that didn't sit too well with the audience.

Congressman Bilarakis says this town hall meeting is one of several he is holding and that he's going to continue to ask FEMA questions until he gets answers.

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