Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell was in Clearwater Tuesday, to announce that Pinellas County had received a Class 2 rating in FEMA’s in National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System (CRS).

The Class 2 designation, which went into effect April 1, reflects a community’s floodplain best management efforts. It provides unincorporated Pinellas property owners and renters substantial discounts on their NFIP flood insurance premiums.

“This is what it looks like when a community invests in resilience, and those investments pay off,” Criswell said in a ceremony following the regular meeting of the Pinellas County Commission. “Not only are the lives of your residents improved upon, but you are saving them money and creating a more resilient community for them to call home.

“And these savings serve as a down payment on a better future for all of us, especially as we continue to face more severe storms and hurricanes that are creating more catastrophic flooding events.”

Because it’s a peninsula itself, she added, “flooding is a risk that Pinellas Country has to always keep top of mind.”

Criswell presented a plaque to Board of County Commissioners Chair Kathleen Peters and Vice Chair Brian Scott.

“As a class 2 community, Pinellas County is in the top one percent of all our CRS participants,” she said, “and has achieved the highest rating in all of Florida. As of April 1, flood insurance policy holders are eligible for up to a 40 percent discount on their premiums. That’s amazing.”

According the FEMA administrator, that amounts to approximately $10 million in savings for policy holders countywide.

The county’s previous rating was Class 3, with a 35 percent discount.

“This is truly a shared accomplishment,” Peters said. “It’s only possible because of the great working relationship that we have with FEMA, with the Florida Division of Emergency Management, with our municipalities, and other partners such as the realtors and staff from across the county.”

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