Federal reimbursements to Miami-Dade County for Hurricane Irma costs near fulfilment

Irma Miami AP
Since April, Miami-Dade has been obligated nearly $30M in federal funds. That's the balance of what the county said it still expected from FEMA and the state.

Nearly five years after Hurricane Irma made landfall in South Florida and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, Miami-Dade County has collected roughly all of the $242 million obligated to it in state and federal funds for post-hurricane cleanup and repair costs.

Hurricane Irma struck South Florida Sept. 10, 2017, less than a week after former President Donald Trump declared the storm a federal emergency.

“This is some big monster,” Trump told reporters at the White House on the same day Irma made contact with the region. “Right now, we are worried about lives, not cost.”

The President’s declaration allowed Miami-Dade to seek federal and state grants for reimbursement for hurricane-related expenses. For Irma, the county anticipates that cost to be about $265 million for 223 projects through Jan. 31, 2022.

According to Miami-Dade’s most recent report on the matter, due for final review by the County Commission Thursday, the county has been pledged $242 million in total repayments so far — $231 million in federal funding and $11 million from the state.

Miami-Dade had received $203 million of that from the state and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through April 14. Since then, FEMA allotted to the county another $29.8 million, several press notes show.

As previously reported by Miami Today, reimbursements to the county for post-hurricane costs were slow going through late 2020 partly because of FEMA’s complex documentation requirements.

Miami-Dade at one point anticipated it would incur about $276.2 million in costs stemming from Irma based on initial damage assessments and costs from a list of “distinct projects” compiled by the office of U.S. Rep. Carlos Giménez, who was the county Mayor in 2017.

“As FEMA continues its review process,” he wrote in a report Jan. 31, 2021, “estimates and cost-share allocations may change.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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