This week, Gov. Ron DeSantis awarded $11.9 million to the town of Fort Myers Beach through the Local Government Emergency Bridge Loan – the first award through the program created in a Special Legislative Session earlier this year.
DeSantis presented Fort Myers Beach officials with the funds in a check presentation from his office in the state capitol building. Administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), the Local Government Emergency Bridge Loan program helps support government operations that may have been impacted by hurricanes Ian or Nicole, bridging the gap while they await federal relief or for their revenues recover.
“By presenting Fort Myers Beach with this $11.9 million award just weeks after I signed this new program into law is a testament to our commitment to helping communities impacted by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole recover as quickly as possible,” said DeSantis. “Through this program, we look forward to connecting more communities with the resources they need to continue operations as they rebuild.”
“Thanks to Governor DeSantis’ leadership and relentless support of disaster-impacted communities, local governments like the Town of Fort Myers Beach will be able to maintain their government operations as they continue to recover post storm,” said Department of Economic Opportunity Acting Sec. Meredith Ivey. “Our top priority is to continue assisting communities rebuild and recover – we strongly encourage eligible local governments to apply.”
“The governor’s commitment to Southwest Florida is phenomenal,” said state Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples. “Together, we authored the Bridge Loan Program during the Special Session to help communities in Southwest Florida, including Ft. Myers Beach, continue their operations. The program is modeled after the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, which the governor activates during an emergency. Loans are provided interest-free. Our communities brought this concern to our attention earlier this year, and together we took quick action to help make our communities whole!”
“Thank you, Governor DeSantis and Senate President Passidomo for your unwavering dedication to helping us recover after Hurricane Ian devastated our community in Fort Myers Beach six months ago,” said Fort Myers Beach Mayor Dan Allers. “With this award, we will be able to continue keeping the lights on and keep people working as we work to recover.”
The Local government Emergency Bridge Loan is a one-time $50 million appropriation to fund governmental operations within eligible Florida counties and municipalities and bridge the gap between the time of the hurricane and the time additional funding sources or revenues are secured. “Governmental Operations” includes costs associated with continuing, expanding, or modifying local governmental operations to meet disaster-related needs and includes costs such as, but not limited to, staff salaries and payroll.
Counties and municipalities located in an area designated in the Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster declarations for Hurricane Ian or Hurricane Nicole are eligible to apply. An applicant must demonstrate that it may suffer or has suffered substantial loss of its tax or other revenues as a result of the hurricane and establish a need for financial assistance to enable it to continue to perform its governmental operations to be eligible.
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