Hurricane Florence: Historic storm brings a historic price tag

Wilmington and Southeastern North Carolina officials hoping FEMA will reimburse most expenses, from the cost of debris removal to repairing damaged government buildings

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. -- Local government costs to respond to Hurricane Florence were, in most cases, the highest ever, officials said.

“I’d venture to say this will be the most expensive cleanup in the city’s history,” Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said.

During the storm, local governments responded with emergency personnel and officials coordinating rescue responses and keeping the public informed about road closings and other hazards. After Florence roared through, cleanup efforts began, which will make up the lion’s share of expenses.

While most expenses likely will be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) -- the region and state were declared disaster areas by President Donald Trump -- upfront costs are borne by local taxpayers, mainly through municipal governments tapping their savings accounts, of fund balance. Read full article.