PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Dave Rivera and his wife Jasmine returned to their Pasco County home on Wednesday for the first time since Hurricane Hermine.
They found flooded rooms and damaged clothes inside their rented mobile home.
“This is our first time ever being in a flood like this and this will be our last time,” said Dave Rivera.
He says his landlord never told him they were renting a home in an area with a history of flooding. “We just got the house like two and a half weeks ago and not on the lease or did it come out of the landlord verbally that this is a flood zone area,” said Rivera.
The mobile home is in the Elfers community and sits near the edge of the Anclote River.
County emergency managers say the only long-term solution may be to buy properties like this one from the landowners.
“Sometimes the house, it really should just be acquired and maybe the land turned back a natural condition,” said Cindy Jolly with Pasco County.
Buying the property could turn out to be a lengthy and expensive process. Pasco County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey would like to see the land turned into a park, but some property owners just don’t want to sell.
“It’s these older neighborhoods that were built before SWFWMD came into being and it’s very hard to go back into an existing neighborhood and retrofit a storm water system,’ said Starkey.
The county has identified more than $300 million in needed storm water improvement projects, but Starkey admits she doesn’t know where the money is coming from.
“This is going to take more that the resources that Pasco County has to fix this,” said Starkey.Emergency managers think Hurricane Hermine may be one of the most expensive in history for Pasco County, estimating damage at more than $89 million dollars.