Governor Scott Asks FEMA To Help With Hurricane Damages
Gov. Rick Scott has officially requested that the federal government declare Hurricane Hermine a major disaster for the state of Florida and provide funding to cover damages from the storm.
On Sept. 20, Scott requested that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, assist the state of Florida in repairing the damages caused by Hurricane Hermine.
Over $36 million in public assistance damages have been spent repairing the hurricane damage, which exceeds the state limit of $26.5 million, according to the request from Scott.
Of that $36 million, $5.6 million was spent in state costs from the Florida Department of Transportation. The rest was in county damages.
Counties in North Central Florida were struck with just over $8.5 million in damages, including a $3,269,599 hit in Dixie County.
Citrus County and Levy County combined for $4.79 million in damages, while Suwannee and Lafayette counties collectively accounted for $511,838 in damages.
Because the state of Florida did not receive any funding for any of the major disasters that occurred during the year, including the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando and the Zika virus, state funding is limited for Hermine damages.
The Florida state government has two programs which largely lend to disaster relief, Florida State Housing Initiative Partnership, SHIP, and Florida Hurricane Loss Mitigation Program, HLMP.
Both programs have funds allocated to provide disaster relief, but the money is used for all disasters in an entire year, meaning that not all of the funds can be allocated to the repairs from Hurricane Hermine.
Neither program currently has enough money to cover the damages either, according to the request.
If FEMA does not provide funding for these damages, Florida taxpayers will ultimately be responsible for covering the damages.
“Any effort by the Federal Government to require the State of Florida to exhaust all of its SHIP and HLMP funds prior to receiving Federal assistance under the Stafford Act would place an unreasonable burden on Florida taxpayers,” Scott wrote in his request.