Counties still waiting on FEMA reimbursement from Hurricane Matthew

Duval, Clay and St. Johns are still waiting on FEMA to reimburse millions of dollars already spent on the clean up from Hurricane Matthew.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla -- The frustration left behind by Hurricane Matthew, last October, is still being felt by communities and by municipalities.
 
Clay County is one of the local governments still trying to get reimbursed from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
 
"From Hurricane Matthew, we are about $17.3 million," said John Ward.
 
Ward is Director of Clay County Emergency Management.
 
"This process is taking a little quite bit longer than what it has been in the past," he said. 
 
Ward said Clay County spent $1.8 million alone, from its reserves, just on removing storm debris. 
 
"We're going on eleven months working with FEMA on trying to get our reimbursements," he said.
 
And yes it affects the county budget. These three Northeast Florida Counties are waiting on millions from Hurricane Matthew reimbursement claims: 
  
- Clay County $17.3 million. 
- Duval County $27 million.
-St. Johns County $17 million.
 
"The process is the county makes the request but that goes through the individual states to FEMA," said Senator Bill Nelson.
 
Nelson said the state made mistakes and missed the filing deadlines.
 
"Twenty-six times since 2004 the state of Florida did not meet and turn in the request and then the appeals for request for debris removal reimbursement," he said.
 
Recently two state workers were fired after missing the deadline for filing for help from Mathew. Nelson said the counties have asked him to petition FEMA.
 
"I sent a letter asking them to accept their appeal even though it was not filed when it should have been filed," he said.
 
He is waiting on a response. But Nelson said damage from Hurricane Harvey is expected to further delay the FEMA reimbursements. Even if that happens he said counties will be paid.
 
"At the end of the day the congress will supply the money for FEMA," said Nelson, " to pay for damages from Harvey and reimburse the counties."
 

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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