DeSantis seeks bigger federal share for Irma cleanup

By The News Service of Florida
WJXT

File photo of Irma debris

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Gov. Ron DeSantis wants the White House to increase federal reimbursements from 75 percent to 90 percent for on-going recovery work following Hurricane Irma, which pummeled Florida nearly two years ago.

Appearing at the Lee County Emergency Management facility in Fort Myers on Monday, DeSantis said the cumulative state and local recovery costs for the massive storm, which impacted nearly the entire state in 2017, has reached $2.63 billion and meets the federal standards to merit the reimbursement boost.

“That 90 percent cost share will represent about $150 million in relief for communities affected by Hurricane Irma,” DeSantis said. “We have some of the smaller municipalities that have debris costs that outstripped their entire operating budget.”

DeSantis requested the increase in a letter to President Donald Trump on Monday, saying “affected communities” needed more support.

“With your approval of this request, you will provide much needed security and financial relief at both the state and local levels of government,” DeSantis wrote. “This support will also assist Florida in our ongoing response to more recent declared disasters, like Hurricane Michael, which continues to take a substantial financial toll.”

During an appearance in Panama City Beach in May, Trump announced that he would approve the state’s request to increase from 75 percent to 90 percent, in many circumstances, the federal reimbursement for Michael, which battered the Panhandle last year.

News Service of Florida