Tallahassee, FL (STL.News) Today, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) has crossed the billion-dollar mark in hurricane recovery funding since January 8. This milestone comes as a direct result of major policy and procedure changes at FDEM to allow funding to be distributed as fast as possible.
“As of today, we’ve paid out more than one billion dollars for hurricane recovery in this administration, which is also is a testament to our unwavering commitment to every community impacted by recent hurricanes,” said Governor DeSantis. “I’m proud of the work we’ve put in, the steps we’ve taken at the state level and the support we have received at the federal level, which have all culminated to make this announcement possible. I will continue to examine every hurricane recovery resource and every power in my executive authority to ensure that these communities continue to rebuild.”
“When Governor DeSantis took office, we made one thing abundantly clear – bureaucratic delay died and logic was born on January 8,” said FDEM Director Jared Moskowitz. “The days of counties and cities waiting years for reimbursement and having to pay costly loans are over. Not only is this the fastest FDEM has ever hit a billion dollars, but we’re also able to do that while protecting the state from costly deobligations.”
In January, FDEM implemented new procedures to accelerate FEMA reimbursements to communities impacted by hurricanes Michael, Irma, Matthew and Hermine. Previously, the Division required projects to be 100-percent validated before any funding was awarded. Under the new process, half of the funds are awarded when a project is 50-percent validated, while the Division continues to work with applicants to provide funding as projects continue to be validated.
Additionally, for Hurricane Michael, FDEM put in place an expedited process to accelerate funding for Northwest Florida communities. Activating this process distributes funds to affected communities more quickly by providing 50 percent of the estimated project costs upfront and requiring less initial review.
In January, Governor DeSantis announced that President Donald Trump granted his request for 45 days of 100 percent federal cost share for Hurricane Michael debris removal and emergency protective measures. Prior to Governor DeSantis securing this commitment, the federal government had only granted 5 days of 100 percent cost share. These additional 40 days saved the state and Northwest Florida nearly half a billion dollars.
In April, Governor DeSantis requested and received a commitment from President Trump to increase the federal cost share for Hurricane Michael recovery from 75 percent to 90 percent. This change in the federal cost share is saving the state and Northwest Florida communities hundreds of millions of dollars.
In August, Governor DeSantis announced that Florida met the threshold for increased federal cost share for Hurricane Irma. Meeting this threshold was accelerated by changes to policies and procedures at FDEM to speed-up hurricane recovery awards.
Since January 8, Governor DeSantis has announced several major hurricane recovery awards, including:
- On April 9, Governor DeSantis announced that Collier County received $40.9 million for Hurricane Irma recovery.
- On April 19, Governor DeSantis announced that Bay County received $18.5 million for Hurricane Michael recovery.
- On June 4, Governor DeSantis announced that Miami-Dade County is receiving $78.1 million for Hurricane Irma recovery.
- On October 10, Governor DeSantis announced that Bay County is receiving $150.9 million and Mexico Beach is receiving $20 million for Hurricane Michael recovery.