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Politics

Senate Ups Budget to $1.8 Billion for Hurricane Michael Recovery

March 22, 2019 - 9:00am
Hurricane Michael aftermath, Panama City
Hurricane Michael aftermath, Panama City
The Florida Senate Committee on Appropriations Thursday released components of the proposed budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, which bring the total state investment in Hurricane Michael Recovery to $1.8 billion.
 
“This budget builds on Florida's commitment to Hurricane Michael Recovery, bringing the total state investment in Hurricane Michael Recovery to $1.8 billion,” said Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton. “Specifically, the Senate is dedicating funding to restore critical life-safety services to panhandle communities, build and provide affordable housing options for displaced families, rebuild local government infrastructure, repair critical county and municipal roads and rebuild education facilities. 
 
"Our K-12 Education budget includes additional funding to cover losses due to declined enrollment in impacted counties, and we also include funding to restore tourism and recreational opportunities and provide technical support for local governments to secure reimbursements. 
 
“As we worked to develop the Senate budget, the ongoing recovery from Hurricane Michael was a top consideration. Senators Gainer, Montford, and Broxson led the way, working closely with our Appropriations Subcommittee chairs to assess the needs of their constituents,” said Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations.  “I believe we have put forward a solid plan at the state level to ensure long-term sustained recovery for Florida’s panhandle.”
 
“On October 10th, the landscape of the panhandle and the lives of those who call it home were changed forever," said Sen. George Gainer, R-Panama City. "The destruction did not begin and end on that day. Our schools, neighborhoods, churches, businesses and families all felt the impact. Five months later, we are still dealing with monumental challenges. This budget will help rebuild and heal our communities. I am grateful to my colleagues for their support.”
 
Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, said, “Our state has never before faced the devastation that destroyed North Florida in early October last year. Even as we stand here today, five months later, there are many families and children still in need. I am confident this budget is a step towards healing the wounds that this horrific storm left on the resilient people of North Florida.” 
 
“Hurricane Michael devastated the lives of many Floridians in just a couple of hours. It will take years to build back what we lost when the category four storm swept through North Florida,” said Senator Broxson (R-Pensacola). “We have a great deal of work ahead of us over the next several years and this budget is a huge step in the right direction. I am proud to be working with my Senate colleagues to restore this beautiful part of Florida.”
 
Here is a breakdown of the $1.8 billion allocation:
 
Restore Critical Life-Safety Services to Panhandle Communities ...
 
  • Calhoun Liberty Hospital – Rebuild, $3.5 million
  • Jackson Hospital – Emergency Backup Water System, $317,450
  • Doctors Memorial – Critical Rural Clinic, $1.6 million
  • Public Safety Communications Tower – Washington County, $600,000
  • Volunteer Fire Department – Calhoun County, $240,000
  • Repair Guard Rails and Replace Road Signs – Liberty County, $112,000
  • Fire Hydrants and Road Signs – City of Parker, $37,500
 
Affordable Housing for Displaced Families ...
 
  • Affordable Housing for Hurricane Recovery – $100 million 
 
Rebuild Local Government Infrastructure ...
 
  • Courthouse Repairs – Jackson County, $1.6 million
  • Facility and Equipment Repair – City of Blountstown, $750,000
  • Disaster Recovery Request – City of Altha, $600,000
  • Infrastructure Repairs – Calhoun County, $650,000
  • Infrastructure Repairs – Franklin County, $750,000
  • City Complex – City of Port St. Joe, $312,500
  • Infrastructure Repairs – City of Wewahitchka, $600,000
  • Infrastructure Repairs – Gulf County, $900,000
  • Building Repairs – City of Parker, $183,750
  • Stormwater System Repairs – City of Callaway, $500,000
  • Stormwater Facility Repairs – Bay County, $1.5 million
  • Wastewater System Repairs – Bay County, $500,000
  • Infrastructure Repairs – Gadsden County, $300,000
  • Repair Buildings – City of Quincy, $75,000
  • Repair Buildings – City of Chattahoochee, $75,000
  • Water System Damages – City of Gretna, $75,000
  • Damaged Property – Liberty County, $825,000

​Critical County and Municipal Road Repairs ...

  • Small County Road Programs (including Senate Bill 7068) – $35 million
  • Road Repairs – City of Callaway, $500,000
 
Rebuild Education Facilities and Increase Investment in K-12 Schools ...
 
  • Student Enrollment Decline – Hold Harmless, $14.18 million
  • Colleges Risk Management Pool Catastrophic Losses, $18.67 million
  • Classroom Construction – Calhoun County School District, $3.2 million
  • Special Facility School Construction – Jackson County, $19 million
  • Special Facility School Construction – Liberty County, $6 million
 
Restore Tourism & Recreational Opportunities ...
 
  • VISIT Florida – $5 million
  • Veterans Memorial Railroad Park – Liberty County, $75,000
  • Local Parks and Sports Complex – City of Parker, $44,375
  • Technical Support for Local Governments to Secure Reimbursements ... 
  • Division of Emergency Management – Workload/Operational Support, $1.5 million
  • Additional Hurricane Relief and Preparedness Initiatives ...
  • Tax Relief for Impacted Property Owners
  • Partnership with Triumph Gulf Coast – $15 million TF

Comments

A lot of this appears to duplicate assistance available from FEMA. This duplication may end up jeopardizing the FEMA funds and thereby cost Florida taxpayers millions.

*FIVE $MILLION$* to "Visit Florida" ?!?!? WHY ?!?!?!!!!! THIS $5M IS A WASTE OF FIVE MILLION DOLLARS OF TAXPAYER MONEY !!!!!!!!!!!

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