Ron DeSantis, DEO Sending $3.1 Million to Panhandle for Hurricane Michael Recovery Projects

At the end of last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis visited the Florida Panhandle to announce more than $3.1 million in awards for 12 projects through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) Rebuild Florida Hazard Mitigation Grant Match Program and recognize the three-year anniversary of Hurricane Michael’s landfall.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) administers the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) in Florida, which requires a local match of 25 percent. In partnership with DEO, the state of Florida funds the local match portion of the HMGP. These awards mark more than $228 million in total funding to date from DEO to Hurricane Michael impacted communities in long-term disaster recovery funding, with more to come soon.

“Since I took office, my administration has remained committed to the recovery of communities impacted by Hurricane Michael by providing more than $1 billion to support the recovery efforts,” said DeSantis on Friday. “Today, we furthered this progress through $3.1 million in funding to help rebuild affected areas and bolster their recovery and resiliency. Three years later, we applaud the actions taken by our Panhandle communities to ensure they are prepared to withstand future storms through disaster mitigation funding.”

“Three years ago, Hurricane Michael devastated my hometown of Panama City and the Florida Panhandle when it made landfall as a massive Category 5 storm,” said state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. “The destruction was unfathomable and heartbreaking, with many families losing what they had worked a lifetime to achieve. This storm was so significant that according to OIR, more than $8.5 billion in insurance claims have been paid. I’m thankful that Governor DeSantis was on the ground in Bay County his first full day in office to stand alongside the men and women of Northwest Florida and let our communities know they would not face recovery alone. I want to remind Floridians that hurricane season lasts through November 30th and I encourage everyone to stay on guard and ensure you’re prepared before the next storm takes aim at our state. Thank you to Governor DeSantis for his unwavering support of our hard-working Panhandle communities impacted by this historic storm.”

“While great progress has been made, the third-year anniversary of Hurricane Michael’s landfall is a reminder that there is more recovery work that needs to be done,” said DEO Secretary Dane Eagle. “This funding is vitally important to continue recovery efforts under Governor DeSantis’ leadership that will allow these impacted communities to rebuild and harden vital infrastructure in preparation for future disasters.”

“The communities in Florida’s Panhandle have shown tremendous resiliency in their Hurricane Michael recovery efforts,” said FDEM Director Kevin Guthrie. “Three years later, the Division continues to expedite critical relief funding and implement disaster mitigation projects to impacted communities. The Division is proud to work with local governments and empower them through disaster resiliency.”

The announcement of matching funds includes:

Bay County ($99,477) – to provide backup power sources at four emergency communications towers across Bay County.

Bay County ($498,744) – to install a potable water main and stop-gaps to better protect the county’s water supply during disaster events.

Bay County ($50,438) – to install a permanent generator at the Bay County Sheriff’s Office to provide electricity during power outages.

Bay County ($57,764) – to install a permanent generator at the Bay County Sheriff’s Office Jail to provide electricity during power outages.

Bay County ($1,111,500) – to relocate an aerial water line underground to protect the potable water system from wind damage and debris during a disaster event.

Bay County ($563,068) – to construct a safe room at the Bay County Sheriff’s Office Jail to provide shelter for up to 125 staff members following an emergency event.

Bay County ($282,006) – to construct a potable water line to provide a reliable potable water source for the Bay County Emergency Operations Center which lost access to potable water for
11 days following Hurricane Michael.

City of Chattahoochee ($239,228) – to install permanent generators at multiple lift stations, a water well, and the wastewater treatment plant to allow these critical facilities to maintain services during power outages.

Talquin Electric Cooperative ($49,273) – to provide backup power sources at critical water pumps and sewer facilities serving vulnerable communities in Gadsden County.

Talquin Electric Cooperative ($134,250) – to provide backup power sources at four critical potable water pumps and sewer facilities that serve multiple communities in Leon County.

Wakulla County ($40,589) – to install a permanent generator at the Wakulla County Community Center to provide electricity during the center’s function as a post-event shelter following disasters.

Wakulla County ($29,561) – to install a permanent generator at the Wakulla Sheriff’s Office Annex to provide electricity during power outages.

To date, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), has allocated more than $417 million for Hurricane Michael’s HMGP funding. Nearly $50 million has been awarded for disaster mitigation projects specifically in Northwest Florida.

Through HMGP for Hurricane Michael, FDEM has approved:

  • $16.2 million for generators,
  • $9.2 million for utility mitigation projects,
  • $4.5 million for wind retrofitting,
  • $2.6 million for safe rooms, and
  • $2.1 million for drainage projects.

Recently, FDEM requested a recalculation of HMGP funding for Hurricane Michael and secured an additional $43 million for existing mitigation projects statewide. This brought the total allocation from $374 million to $417 million.

Following a major disaster, a percentage of a state’s total federal recovery grants is calculated to help develop more resilient communities. Florida has an Enhanced Hazard Mitigation Plan that allows more funding to be available for post-disaster resilience projects. States with the enhanced plan receive HMGP funds based on 20 percent of their total estimated eligible federal disaster assistance.

FDEM has also administered nearly $6 billion in disaster recovery funding to local governments since January 8, 2019 – the most funding that has been paid out within less than three years in the Division’s history. Of that $6 billion, more than $1 billion has been disbursed to support Hurricane Michael recovery efforts.

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