Money sought for Hurricane Michael projects

Hurricane Michael
APTOPIX Tropical Weather Florida_1539280894021-873774424

A boat sits amidst debris in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(The News Service of Florida) — Rep. Jason Shoaf, a Port St. Joe Republican whose district sustained major damage in last year’s Hurricane Michael, is seeking at least $30 million in a series of appropriations bills to continue recovery from the Category 5 storm.

The proposals, filed Friday, will be considered as lawmakers put together a budget during the 2020 legislative session, which begins Jan. 14.

Among Shoaf’s requests are $2.3 million to replace Blountstown’s damaged police station (HB 2963); $1.5 million for a new emergency operations center in Franklin County (HB 2977); $700,000 for generators at the Liberty County courthouse, jail, clerk’s office, sheriff’s office, ambulance station and civic center (HB 2979); $780,570 to revamp the fire station in Bristol (HB 2985); and $24.2 million to build classrooms and other school facilities in Calhoun County (HB 2987).

During the 2019 session, lawmakers directed $220 million toward recovery efforts from Michael, of which $115 million was for affordable housing. Panhandle-area lawmakers had sought more than three times that amount. The state had spent about $1.6 billion from emergency funding after the storm hit.

As of Tuesday morning, House members across the state had requested funding for nearly 500 separate local projects and programs to be included in the fiscal 2020-2021 budget, with a combined proposed cost of $643 million. Most will not make it into the budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

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