|Date:||April 23, 2019|
|Source:||Sunshine State News|
Gov. Ron DeSantis is calling on the federal government to shoulder more of the costs as Florida continues to recover from Hurricane Michael which hit the Panhandle and the Big Bend back in October.
On Friday, DeSantis asked President Donald Trump asking for the federal government to take up 90 percent of recovery costs instead of the current 75 percent. DeSantis noted that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reclassified Hurricane Michael 5 as a category 5 storm last week.
“I am officially requesting an increase in federal funding for Hurricane Michael recovery from 75 to 90 percent,” DeSantis said on Monday. “Since my first full day in office when I visited Northwest Florida, it was clear that the efforts to rebuild and recover were far from over. An increase in the federal share will help Northwest Florida tremendously and I thank President Trump for his previous commitment to fully fund the first 45 days of recovery from this storm. I look forward to continuing to work with the president to ensure Northwest Florida completely recovers.”
The governor’s office offered the rationale behind why the federal government should increase its share of the recovery costs.
“The president has the authority to issue a waiver and increase the federal cost share for hurricane recovery from the standard 75 percent to 90 percent prior to costs reaching the 90 percent threshold,” DeSantis’ office noted on Monday. “With the recent upgrade of Hurricane Michael to a Category 5, as well as the tremendous amount of debris removal performed since the storm’s impact, the state estimates that this threshold will be met in the future. This change in the federal cost share would save the state and Northwest Florida communities hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) Director Jared Moskowitz weighed in on the governor’s request, saying the federal government needs to shoulder more of the costs.
“At the Division of Emergency Management, we recognized the devastation this storm caused and took action in January by putting in place new processes and procedures to get funding out as quickly as possible,” said Moskowitz. “I applaud Governor DeSantis for providing leadership and requesting 90 percent federal funding on the same day that Hurricane Michael was upgraded to a Category 5. This increase in federal funding will provide critical savings to Panhandle communities during their recovery.”
State Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis, who is based out of Panama City on the Panhandle, praised DeSantis for asking the federal government to shoulder more of the recovery costs.
“Thank you, Governor Ron DeSantis, for taking action for areas impacted by Hurricane Michael in the Florida Panhandle. Through his leadership, he has made it absolutely clear that we are not alone in the recovery process,” Patronis said. "It is devastating to see families and businesses still struggling six months later, but this increased funding would make a major difference in recovery. With the 2019 Hurricane Season quickly approaching, every dollar will help this area get back to some level of normalcy before the next storm hits.”