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Largo to receive $1M for Hurricane Irma relief

The funds come after nearly two years.

Recovery funds related to Hurricane Irma are still coming in from the federal government, as Congressman Charlie Crist announced a $1 million grant for the city of Largo on Wednesday. 

The funds come nearly two years after the hurricane narrowly missed the Tampa Bay area, but still caused widespread damage to homes and businesses throughout the area.

“Though we were lucky enough to avoid a direct hit, many Pinellas County residents were still significantly impacted by Hurricane Irma, losing power, property, and millions of dollars in revenue,” Crist said. “This grant goes a long way toward helping the city of Largo and its residents recover from the damage caused by this disaster.”

Local governments incurred millions of dollars in expenses related to storm recovery. Largo can use the grant funds to reimburse costs associated with debris removal, emergency response and for necessary repairs to city facilities, roads, buildings and utilities.

Irma made landfall in Marco Island in Southwest Florida in early September 2017 as a Category 3 hurricane and continued barreling through the state traveling east of Tampa Bay.

While the Tampa Bay area avoided a ‘worst case’ scenario, the entire region experienced tropical storm force-sustained winds and torrential downpours.

To date, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved more than $1 billion in total individual and household program funds. Pinellas County received more than $5 million for emergency response.

Also on Tuesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis presented Naples — which also suffered a direct hit from Irma — $41 million in relief funds.

FEMA continues to work through remaining assistance after more than 1,000 government agencies requested relief.

Meantime, a bill in the Legislature would provide $315 million for funding in the Panhandle for restoration efforts related to the devastation caused by Hurricane Micheal.

The state has spent $1.6 billion in restoration efforts from that storm, which they expect the federal government to reimburse. FEMA has been criticized for its slow response to a spate of storms in Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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