Santa Rosa County approved for $8.3 million in Hurricane Sally debris removal expenses

Special to the Press Gazette / USA TODAY NETWORK

PENSACOLA — FEMA has approved the state of Florida to reimburse Santa Rosa County $8,327,831 for costs associated with county-wide debris removal after Hurricane Sally in September 2020.

Santa Rosa County workers, along with contractors, removed a total of 433,588 cubic yards of vegetative debris; 163,241 cubic yards of construction and demolition debris; 15,683 hazardous limbs; and 1,344 leaning trees from roads and public property throughout Santa Rosa County. This included private rights of way, which posed a serious threat to public health and safety.

Mountains of Hurricane Sally debris sit in yards in the Bayside neighborhood in Milton last September.

Expenses also included the monitoring and field supervisory oversight of collecting, removing and disposing of all debris.

FEMA’s Public Assistance program is an essential source of funding for communities recovering from a federally declared disaster or emergency. The Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) works with FEMA during all phases of the program and reviews projects prior to FEMA final approval.

Applicants work directly with FEMA to develop projects and scopes of work. FEMA obligates funding for projects to FDEM after final approval.

Once a project is obligated, FDEM works closely with applicants to finalize grants and begin making payments. FDEM has procedures in place designed to ensure grant funding is provided to local communities as quickly as possible.

FEMA’s Public Assistance program provides grants to state, tribal and local governments, and certain private nonprofit organizations, including houses of worship, so communities can quickly respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies.