County property owners have until July 31 to contest proposed changes in Pinellas County’s Flood Insurance Rate Maps with updated scientific and technical data.

Preferred-risk flood insurance policies should be purchased before the Federal Emergency Management Agency issues Letters of Final Determination and the updated FIRM becomes effective. To help explain the changes and what actions property owners may need to take, Pinellas County is holding three open house-style meetings in June.

The first two meetings will be held Tuesday, June 11, at the Lealman Exchange, 5175 45th St. N., in St. Petersburg. An afternoon meeting is scheduled from 2-4 p.m., and an evening meeting will be held from 6-8.

The third meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 25, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., in the Oldsmar City Council Chambers, 101 State St. W., in Oldsmar.

The meetings will provide valuable information to property owners that may be affected by proposed changes to Pinellas County’s FIRM. Home and business owners, renters, real estate agents, mortgage lenders, surveyors and insurance agents are encouraged to attend. The same information will be provided at all three meetings. There will be no formal presentation.

The community meetings will be held in an open house format to allow citizens to talk to insurance specialists and technical specialists about the preliminary maps. Representatives from Pinellas County, several cities and the Southwest Florida Water Management District will also be in attendance. A customer service representative will be available to answer basic questions in Spanish.

Property owners can view their current flood zone and potential map change at www.pinellascounty.org/flooding/fema_firm.htm.

Although it is not required, property owners are advised to bring their elevation certificates if they have one. In some cases, the certificates may be downloaded from www.pinellascounty.org/flooding/elevation.htm for properties in the unincorporated county or obtained from the cities in which the property is located.

For more information about flooding in Pinellas County and flood insurance, visit www.pinellascounty.org/flooding.