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Senate proposes nearly $2B for Hurricane Michael recovery

The budget dedicates significant funding to restore critical life-safety services to panhandle communities.

The Florida Senate is including more than $1.8 billion for Hurricane Michael Recovery in its 2019-2020 proposed budget, according to conference reports released Thursday.

“Specifically, the budget dedicates significant funding to restore critical life-safety services to Panhandle communities, build and provide affordable housing options for displaced families, rebuild local government infrastructure, repair critical county and municipal roads, and rebuild education facilities,” said Senate President Bill Galvano. “Our K-12 Education budget includes additional funding to cover losses due to declined enrollment in impacted counties, and we also include funding to restore recreational opportunities and provide technical support for local governments to secure reimbursements.”

Here are the details in the latest conference report.

Restore Critical Life-Safety Services to Panhandle Communities

 — Calhoun Liberty Hospital: Rebuild, $3 million

 — Jackson Hospital, Emergency Backup Water System: $300,000

 —Doctors Memorial, Critical Rural Clinic, $1 million

 — Mental and Telehealth Services, $200,000

 — Public Safety Communications Tower, Washington County, $600,000

 — Volunteer Fire Department, Calhoun County, $200,000

 — Repair Guard Rails and Replace Road Signs, Liberty County, $100,000

 — Fire Hydrants and Road Signs, City of Parker, $400,000

 —New building for the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, $1.4 million

Affordable Housing for Displaced Families

 — Affordable Housing for Hurricane Recovery, $115 million

Rebuild Local Government Infrastructure

 — Grant program for local governments and schools in Division of Emergency Management, $25 million

 —Jackson County Courthouse Repairs, $1.6 million

 — Repair and Rebuild City of Blountstown Infrastructure, $800,000

 —Repair and Rebuild City of Altha Infrastructure, $600,000

 — Repair and Rebuild Calhoun County Infrastructure, $600,000

 — Repair and Rebuild Franklin County Infrastructure, $800,000

 — Repair and Rebuild City of Port St. Joe Infrastructure, $300,000

 — Repair and Rebuild City of Wewahitchka Infrastructure, $600,000

 — Repair and Rebuild Gulf County Infrastructure, $900,000

 — Repair and Rebuild City of Parker Infrastructure, $200,000

 — Repair and Rebuild Gadsden County Infrastructure, $300,000

 — City of Gretna Water System Damage, $800,000

 — City of Callaway Storm Water System Repairs, $500,000

 — Bay County Storm Water and Wastewater System Repairs, $1.9 million

 — Repair and Rebuild City of Quincy Infrastructure, $800,000

 — Repair and Rebuild City of Chattahoochee Infrastructure, $800,000

 — Repair and Rebuild Liberty County Infrastructure, $800,000

 — Repair and Rebuild Washington County Agriculture Center, $500,000 

 — Repair and Rebuild Bay County Infrastructure: $1.4 million

Critical County and Municipal Road Repairs

 — County and Municipal Roads: $15 million

 — City of Callaway Road Repairs, $500,000

 — Panama City Roadways and Drainage Repairs, $500,000

 — City of Lynn Haven Road Repair, $1 million

 — Senate Bill 7068, which passed in both the House and Senate, provides an additional $20 million.

Rebuild Education Facilities and Increase Investment in K-12 Schools

 — Student Enrollment Declines, Hold Harmless, $14.2 million

 — Special Facility School Construction, Jackson County, $19.1 million

 — Special Facility School Construction, Liberty County, $6.1 million

Restore Recreational Opportunities

 — Veterans Memorial Railroad Park, Liberty County, $800,000

 — Local Parks and Sports Complex, City of Parker, $400,000

Technical Support for Local Governments to Secure Reimbursements

 — Division of Emergency Management Local Government Assistance, $1.5 million

 — City of Parker Emergency Protective Measures, $300,000

 — Bay County Emergency Protective Measures, $600,000

Additional Hurricane Relief, Recovery and Preparedness Initiatives

Tax Relief for Impacted Property Owners

 — Partnership with Triumph Gulf Coast, $15 million

Another bill in the Florida House (HB 7123) would create several tax relief benefits for those affected by the hurricane for hurricane response, preparedness and recovery.

That includes farm or agriculture property located in Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, or Wakulla counties. It applies to land that was available for use for at least 60 days following Hurricane Michael.

Under that bill, affected individuals might also qualify for sales tax exemptions on building materials used to replace or repair nonresidential farm equipment purchased between October 10, 2018, and June 30 of this year.

Exemptions would also apply to fencing materials and fuel taxes used for agriculture shipment or hurricane debris removal.

The House Bill would also create a seven-day disaster preparedness tax holiday from May 31-June 6 on flashlights and lanterns under $20, radios and tarps under $50, coolers and batteries less than $30 and generators not exceeding $750.

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 Patch.com 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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