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05/02/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/02/2019 11:12

Legislation Elevates Hurricane Michael Recovery to $1.8 Billion Total State Investment

Tallahassee -

The Florida Senate released the conference report on Senate Bill 2500, the 2019-2020 General Appropriations Act, which appropriates funding that brings the total state investment in Hurricane Michael Recovery to $1.859 billion.

'This budget builds on Florida's commitment to Hurricane Michael Recovery, bringing the total state investment in Hurricane Michael Recovery to $1.859 billion,' said Senate President Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton). '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. 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.'

'As we worked on our state budget, the ongoing recovery from Hurricane Michael was a top consideration. Senators Gainer, Montford, and Broxson led the way, working closely with our Appropriations Subcommittee Chairs and our House colleagues to assess the needs of their constituents,' said Senator Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island), Chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. 'I believe we have put forward a solid plan at the state level to ensure long-term sustained recovery for Florida's Panhandle communities.'

'On October 10th the landscape of the panhandle and the lives of those who call it home were changed forever. The destruction did not begin and end on that day. Our schools, neighborhoods, churches, businesses and families all felt the impact. More than six months later, we are just beginning to see the full picture of the monumental challenges before us,' said Senator Gainer (R-Panama City). 'I am confident this budget will help our communities heal and rebuild, and I am grateful to my colleagues for their support and focus on this critical effort.'

'Our state has never before faced the devastation that destroyed North Florida in early October last year. More than six months later, there are many families and children still in need,' said Senator Montford (D-Tallahassee). 'I am confident this budget is a step towards healing the wounds that this horrific storm left on the resilient people of North Florida. My colleagues in the state legislature have ensured that the incredible needs just 50 miles from the Capitol do not go unmet and this nearly $2 billion commitment will jump start the decades long rebuilding process. With such a long road ahead for our communities, I am grateful that the Florida Legislature remains committed to recovery.'

'Hurricane Michael devastated the lives of many Floridians in just a couple of hours. It will take years to build back what we lost when the category five storm swept through North Florida,' said Senator Broxson (R-Pensacola). 'We have a great deal of work ahead of us over the next several years and this budget is a huge step in the right direction. I am proud to be working with my Senate colleagues to restore this beautiful part of Florida.'

Total State Investment In Hurricane Michael Recovery: $1.859 Billion

  • Emergency Funds Allocated: $1.639 Billion
  • SPB 2500, General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2019-2020: $220.9 million

Senate Bill 2500: 2019-20 General Appropriations Act

Restore Critical Life-Safety Services to Panhandle Communities

  • Calhoun Liberty Hospital - Rebuild, $3 million
  • Jackson Hospital - Emergency Backup Water System, $0.3 million
  • Doctors Memorial - Critical Rural Clinic, $1 million
  • Mental and Telehealth Services - $0.2 million
  • Public Safety Communications Tower - Washington County, $0.6 million
  • Volunteer Fire Department - Calhoun County, $0.2 million
  • Repair Guard Rails and Replace Road Signs - Liberty County, $0.1 million
  • Fire Hydrants and Road Signs - City of Parker, $0.04 million
  • 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, $0.8 million
  • Repair and Rebuild City of Altha Infrastructure, $0.6 million
  • Repair and Rebuild Calhoun County Infrastructure, $0.6 million
  • Repair and Rebuild Franklin County Infrastructure, $0.8 million
  • Repair and Rebuild City of Port St. Joe Infrastructure, $0.3 million
  • Repair and Rebuild City of Wewahitchka Infrastructure, $0.6 million
  • Repair and Rebuild Gulf County Infrastructure, $0.9 million
  • Repair and Rebuild City of Parker Infrastructure, $0.2 million
  • Repair and Rebuild Gadsden County Infrastructure, $0.3 million
  • City of Gretna Water System Damage, $0.08 million
  • City of Callaway Storm Water System Repairs, $0.5 million
  • Bay County Storm Water and Wastewater System Repairs, $1.9 million
  • Repair and Rebuild City of Quincy Infrastructure, $.08 million
  • Repair and Rebuild City of Chattahoochee Infrastructure, $.08 million
  • Repair and Rebuild Liberty County Infrastructure, $0.8 million
  • Repair and Rebuild Washington County Agriculture Center, $0.05 million
  • 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, $0.5 million
  • Panama City Roadways and Drainage Repairs, $0.5 million
  • Bay County Road Repair and Traffic Safety, $3.8 million
  • 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 Decline - 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, $0.08 million
  • Local Parks and Sports Complex - City of Parker, $0.04 million

Technical Support for Local Governments to Secure Reimbursements

  • Division of Emergency Management Local Government Assistance, 20 FTE and $1.5 million
  • City of Parker Emergency Protective Measures, $.03 million
  • Bay County Emergency Protective Measures, $0.6 million

Additional Hurricane Relief, Recovery and Preparedness Initiatives

Tax Relief for Impacted Property Owners

  • Partnership with Triumph Gulf Coast - $15 million TF

Tax Exemptions for Hurricane Michael Recovery

House Bill 7123, the 2019 Tax Relief Package under consideration in the House and Senate, creates several tax relief benefits related to hurricane response, recovery, and preparedness.

  • Tangible personal property owned and operated by a farm, farm operation, or agriculture processing facility located in Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, or Wakulla County that was unable to be used for at least 60 days following Hurricane Michael will be valued at its salvage value for the 2019 ad valorem tax roll.
  • Sales tax exemption for building materials used to replace or repair nonresidential farm buildings damaged as a direct result of Hurricane Michael and purchased during the period from October 10, 2018, through June 30, 2019.
  • Sales tax exemption for fencing materials used to replace or repair farm fences on agricultural land damaged as a direct result of Hurricane Michael and purchased during the period from October 10, 2018, through June 30, 2019.
  • Refund of fuel taxes used for agricultural shipment or hurricane debris removal after Hurricane Michael. The exemption applies to state and local taxes on fuel purchased and used in Florida during the period of October 10, 2018, through June 30, 2019.

2019 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday

House Bill 7123 would also create a seven-day 'disaster preparedness' sales tax holiday from May 31 to June 6, 2019, for disaster preparedness supplies. Tax-free items include: flashlights and lanterns costing $20 or less; radios and tarps costing $50 or less; coolers and batteries costing $30 or less; and, generators costing $750 or less, among others.