MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – Residents in Sweetwater got a reprieve from the federal government Monday that could stand to save homeowners upwards of $5,000.
FEMA has rescinded a mandatory flood coverage for major portions of Sweetwater. The decision comes after the community made serious improvements to the area’s flooding problems.
The FEMA decision means many residents no longer have to carry flood insurance which could result in savings of anywhere from $500 to $5,000.
“I’m surprised I won,” said Sweetwater Mayor Manny Marono. “I’m happy we won. But usually, we fall into this system that the federal government does something we are not going to be able to fix it.”
The city spent $20 million to install pumps that prevent flooding and improved draining near sidewalks after years of having to deal with the city being underwater nearly every time severe weather pushed through the area.
Miami-Dade County leaders hope Monday’s announcement will inspire other communities looking to help their citizens.
Miami-Dade Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, who lives in Sweetwater, is hoping their appeal will help other cities and neighborhoods.
“They can see this and say ‘hey they did it we can do it if we can see if the infrastructure has been improved’,” Diaz said.
And while the neighborhood won’t have to pay going forward they won’t see a dime back on all that money spent on policies they never needed.
“There are people out there, I know because you did the stories on them, that paid $5,000 plus, forced on them,” Diaz said.
He paid $2300 on his last bill. Diaz pledged that they should look at those insurance bills.
“We need to look at how they could do that exorbitant amount of money,” said Diaz.
The change in coverage does not apply to the entire city of Sweetwater, just large swaths which equates to roughly half the city. The area has ongoing infrastructure improvements that will help get the entire area out of the flood zone. Mayor Marono is promising that will happen in the next few years.
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