‘PROOF’: FEMA claims Lee County didn’t comply; leaders reply with documents

Lee County leaders say they have documentation showing they responded to all of FEMA’s concerns before the agency stripped the county of its 25% discount on flood insurance.

The county released 51 pages of emails and letters between the county and FEMA.

“The county replied to every single letter that was sent to us,” Commissioner Brian Hamman said.

The federal agency eliminated the flood insurance discount claiming there was a large amount of unpermitted work, a lack of documentation, and a failure to properly monitor activity in special flood hazard areas, including substantial damage compliance.

In February of last year, FEMA wrote Lee County Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass urging communication and a meeting.

“During this meeting we will look for gaps or shortfalls in your program and determine the appropriate level of support you may need,” Jacky Bell, Director of the Mitigation Division for FEMA wrote.

In June of 2023, FEMA sent a letter to former County Manager Roger Desjarlais, asking for a list of damaged structures, a list of demolition permits issued since the storm and copies of permits issued for repairs in the special flood hazard area.

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