Gulf of Mexico
President Joe Biden speaks with former Town of Fort Myers Beach Manager Roger Hernstadt after Hurricane Ian. Associated Press photo

FL - Biden reimbursement increase to save Fort Myers Beach $2.2 million

Increased funding assistance announced by President Joe Biden for Hurricane Ian recovery efforts will save the Town of Fort Myers Beach approximately $2.2 million.

Federal Emergency Management Assistance (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell announced Oct. 25 that President Biden made additional disaster assistance available to the state of Florida to supplement recovery efforts in the areas affected by Hurricane Ian.

Biden authorized the federal cost-share for public assistance to be increased from 75% to 90% of total eligible costs.

“It has been a little over a year since Hurricane Ian devastated Fort Myers and surrounding communities in Florida. Sadly, more than 140 people lost their lives, and over 33,000 survivors were displaced from their homes,” said Administrator Criswell. “However, Floridians remained strong in the face of this tragedy, and with the support of our federal, state and local partners, we have used every tool at our disposal to help Florida recover from this disaster. To date, the Biden-Harris Administration has provided over $8 billion in federal assistance, and this latest cost-share adjustment means that even more federal assistance is on the way. The road to recovery is long, and at times difficult, but FEMA will be there every step of the way.”

To date, federal support following Hurricane Ian for Florida totals $8.69 billion.

The Town of Fort Myers Beach cost savings is combined from the Town’s 39 recovery projects that are in various stages of project formulation or reimbursement through FEMA’s Public Assistance program, according to Town of Fort Myers Beach Communications Director Jennifer Dexter.

For the Town of Fort Myers Beach, the State of Florida will pick up five percent of the remaining 10 percent cost-share. The Town is responsible for the remaining five percent.

Projects that are completed and awaiting reimbursement include debris removal, emergency berm construction, and Laguna Pass dredging, Dexter said. Projects that are pending in various stages include beach access repairs, street signs, Bay Oaks Recreational Center, and the community pool.

The Town’s cost-share at the former 75 percent rate was approximately $4.7 million. The Town’s five percent cost-share at the 90 percent reimbursement rate is approximately $2.5 million, according to figures provided by Dexter.

FEMA provided $1.13 billion in grants to more than 386,000 households in 26 counties in Florida.

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