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OPINION

JUST PLAIN TALK: Slipping Sally through the alley

Buz Livingston
Buz Livingston

By my deadline, the monsoonal flooding courtesy of Hurricane Sally has receded, albeit slightly. Local leaders should take heed and use better judgment concerning new developments. Despite Chat Holly Road, J.D. Miller Road, and 393 being shut down, more developments are planned. Ignoring basic science, like water runs downhill, puts life, livelihoods, and property at risk.

Like freedom of speech doesn’t give you the right to shout fire in a crowded theater; the property rights argument doesn’t give you the right to dump water on your neighbor’s land.

OK, maybe it’s a 2020 thing, but loose barges didn't use to strike bridges. I didn’t grow up in Florida, but I spent decades living south of Paxton, Florida, while being a Georgia resident. Our children would have been sixth generation Floridians, but mama fell for a brown-eyed handsome man from Georgia.

A breakaway barge destroyed a section of Pensacola’s Three Mile Bridge, and I-10 was temporarily closed after one slammed into the Calcasieu River Bridge in Lake Charles. All my life, hurricanes and storms have been on my radar. Current mooring protocols are insufficient and must be upgraded.

As I mentioned early this month, after a storm, take reasonable steps to limit the additional loss of personal property and further damage to the structure. Report damages to the agent and insurance company as soon as possible. Document all expenses; living expenses may be covered under your homeowner’s policy but not if the loss is solely from flooding.

Use only licensed contractors and never pay someone cash in advance; reputable contractors don’t require cash advances. Florida residents can report any price gouging at 1-866-9NO-SCAM or using the NO SCAM app. In addition to criminal penalties, violators can face civil fines up to $1000 per incident.

Politicians like to rail against socialism, but when a disaster hits, FEMA is on speed dial. Hurricane Sally still had hurricane-force winds when Panhandle politicians reached out to FEMA regarding Three Mile Bridge repairs. By all means, they should, natural disasters overwhelm local authorities and private resources.

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) mitigates socio-economic damage from flooding. If you have flood insurance, you can start the claims process and apply for disaster assistance at floodsmart.gov.

South Walton is a disaster-prone area; without government assistance, we would be up the proverbial creek without a paddle. Not only does the NFIP help after a disaster, but taxpayer-subsidized flood insurance also props up real estate values and demand for property.

Rest in Peace Pop

My dad died earlier this month. The last time I saw him was my musical debut. He was a bit agitated, so I cranked out a few Jimmy Buffett and John Prine songs. It was unrehearsed, but it worked like a charm; he went to sleep, like a lullaby. Hug your folks while you can.

You can’t always get what you want, but Buz Livingston, CFP, can help you figure out what you need. For specific advice, visit livingstonfinancial.net or drop by, masked, 2050 West County Highway 30A, M1 Suite 230.