Trump OK's 90/10 Split for Hurricane Michael Reimbursement

The decision to have the federal government cover 90 percent of disaster recovery costs should save Bay County, Fla., taxpayers millions of dollars in spending for debris removal and emergency protective measures needed after the Category 5 storm.

by Patrick Mccreless, The News Herald, Panama City, Fla. / May 20, 2019
Firefighter Austin Schlarb performs a door-to-door search in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla. AP/Gerald Herbert

(TNS) — President Donald Trump raised federal cost-sharing to 90 percent for Hurricane Michael recovery spending on Saturday.

The decision to have the federal government cover 90 percent of disaster recovery costs should save Bay County taxpayers millions of dollars in spending for debris removal and emergency protective measures needed after the Category 5 storm.

According to a Saturday press release, Trump's office informed the Bay County Commission that the president officially approved the increase of how much of the recovery cost the Federal Emergency Management Agency would cover for the Oct. 10 disaster.

The decision follows Trump's promise to increase the cost sharing during his campaign rally in Panama City Beach last week.

"We are grateful to President Trump for making good on his promise to fund costs associated with Hurricane Michael at 90 percent from the federal level," Bay County Commission Chairman Philip Griffitts said. "This, along with the state's commitment to split the remaining 10 percent will remove a significant burden from the taxpayers of Bay County. We thank the president and Gov. Ron DeSantis for their continued commitment to our area's recovery."

DeSantis requested the increase in federal cost share to 90 percent  on April 19 for all public assistance costs for the hurricane. Previously, the rate was set at 75 percent , meaning the county and the state had to split 25 percent of recovery costs.

The county's total estimated damage recovery cost is $661 million. Had the reimbursement rate not changed, the county would have been on the hook for more than $80 million.

With the increase, the county's share drops to around $33 million.

Meanwhile, the commission has already borrowed $250 million to pay for debris removal and infrastructure repair. County officials have said the money is needed while they wait for federal disaster spending reimbursement — a process expected to take years, regardless of what cost-sharing rate is set.

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