FORT MYERS, FLA — The city of Fort Myers used more than 29 million dollars from their budget to cover needs related to Hurricane Ian - within the past week 50% of it has been reimbursed by FEMA which is very important because the city says a lot of that money had to be taken from future activities and investments.
"The city has a very lean budget, we don’t have a lot of funding that’s allocated from something as big as an emergency as what happened with the hurricane and requires for us to pull funds," says Liz Bello-Matthews who's the Public Information Officer with City of Fort Myers.
Money that went towards emergency debris removal in various parts of the city immediately after Hurricane Ian along with man power, staffing, contractor's... "Went into just about everything you saw, the removal of floating docks that you in the wrong place — you know all of that is what that money went to," says Liz.
Immediately the city had to document everything and send it to FEMA for approval which they recently received 50% of it back.
Here's a breakdown of those numbers when it comes to the more than 29 million dollars spent:
- The city submitted 2 expedited projects to FEMA totaling $29,101,032.29
- Category A Debris Removal totaling $13,662,985.48
- The city recently received half from FEMA, $6,831,492.74
- Category B Emergency Protective Measures totaling $15,438,046.81.
This includes all of the non-debris related work performed immediately after the storm. The city recently received half from FEMA $7,430,438.67.
Based on the city's two projects, the city received a total of $14,261,931.41 from FEMA. To get the remaining 50% the city is submitting documentation and records.
The reason expedited projects are unique is because FEMA gives back 50% of the estimated costs for those projects because they know how badly those funds are needed to help jurisdictions recover faster.
"We have been very meticulous and documenting everything we have gathered and everything we have submitted so we do believe we provided the package that they have received in order to provide us what they need so they can provide the additional funding."
Bello-Matthews tells me the city will receive the rest of the 50 percent once FEMA approves the rest of the documentation that the city sent out. They hope to have the rest back within the next 6 months.