Lawmakers in the House voted late Thursday to prevent the scheduled expiration of a company managing funds to assist property owners whose foundations are deteriorating as a result of corrupted concrete.
The change was included in a bill, which passed 144 to 2, and removes language from state law that would sunset the Connecticut Foundation Solutions Indemnity Company next summer. Reps. Jack Hennessy, D-Bridgeport, and Cara Pavalock-D’Amato, R-Bristol, voted against the legislation.
“It is critically important to our community that we are able to improve these homes that are damaged by crumbling concrete,” Rep. Jaime Foster, D-Ellington, said.
As of last week, the captive insurance company had assisted in the replacement of 309 foundations afflicted by pyrrhotite, a mineral found to be ruining concrete in building foundations throughout eastern Connecticut.
Although they prevented the program from expiring, lawmakers removed a passage from the bill that would have continued its funding beyond 2029.
The program is financed through the combination of a $12 surcharge on homeowner insurance policies and $100 million in bonding by the state. Lawmakers removed the provision of the bill which would have continued the surcharge.
Without the funding provision, there was broad support for the bill which makes a handful of other changes to state law around crumbling foundations including limiting when towns can reassess affected homes and requiring the captive insurance company to study the presence of pyrrhotite in non-residential buildings.
Rep. Tammy Nuccio, a Tolland Republican who said her district included 22% of current deteriorating foundation claimants, said the problem extended well beyond residential homes. Nuccio said it also impacted schools and businesses in her district.
“This is something that has rocked my community,” she said. “We have a dance studio that has a crumbling foundation and their floors are heaving all over the place. It’s just not a safe environment.”
The bill will now go to the state Senate for consideration.
CFSIC Superintendent Michael Maglaras said the company would continue its work, assuming the state removed its sunset provision. On Friday, he called the House action a victory.
“If that passes the Senate and the governor signs it, it means our life has been extended. It means we can do more work, seek more funding,” he said. “If it does not get moved, I actually have to start shutting the company down right around October 1.”
Despite the likely extension, Maglaras worried about future funding. The company expects to receive $10.6 million from the surcharge for the fiscal year beginning next July.
“$10.6M means 61 homes. We currently have close to 550 Pending claimants. We can’t make it any clearer than that,” Maglaras said in a post on the captive insurance company’s website this week.
The company has so far received $80 million of the $100 million in promised bonded funds. The State Bond Commission is expected to approve the remaining funds this summer.