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Good news for the Florida Panhandle from Governor Ron DeSantis Featured

Governor Ron DeSantis announces his good news for the panhandle in a news conference. Governor Ron DeSantis announces his good news for the panhandle in a news conference. Shelia Mader | TIMES

Last Thursday, Governor Ron DeSantis made a trip to Marianna to announce additional reimbursement assistance for Hurricane Michael recovery expenses.

On Tuesday, January 22, 2019, Governor DeSantis met with President Trump to discuss his request for 45 days of 100% Federal cost share for Hurricane Michael debris removal and emergency protective measures. This is a request only the President has the power to grant. After their meeting, President Trump granted the Governor’s request without hesitation.  Governor DeSantis said the meeting was requested after he made his second visit to the Florida Panhandle on January 18. Following that visit, Governor DeSantis sent a letter to President Trump requesting the Federal cost share. 

“I would like to thank President Trump for granting my request for 45 days of 100 percent Federal cost share,” said Governor DeSantis. “This much-needed additional reimbursement assistance will vastly help Florida families in the Panhandle. We are fortunate to have such a strong ally in the White House and we will never stop fighting to help all affected communities recover and rebuild stronger than ever.”

This additional reimbursement funding will result in assistance in the ongoing Hurricane Michael recovery efforts, specifically: Debris removal can continue without interruption; Workers can get paid overtime for their work; Counties and local governments will be better able to restore their communities without having to deplete other areas of their budgets.

Governor DeSantis chose to have his announcement in front of what used to be the Jackson County Road Department and took the podium alongside elected officials to give a look inside one of his meetings.

“This week, I went up to the white house to meet with the president one on one and discuss the situation here,” said Governor DeSantis.

He said President Trump was surprised to see how much damage Hurricane Michael caused the Panhandle, “The president was impressed by the figures of damage. When you look at Hurricane Irma, it covered the whole state and it was about 2.5 million cubic square yards of debris. Just Hurricane Michael, on this relatively small area compared to the whole state of Florida, 25 million cubic square yards of debris.”

On Thursday, DeSantis announced that his request to President Trump was approved and more relief is now in place. He announced, “President Trump, he heard, he listened and he acted. After meeting with the president on Tuesday, he agreed to extend that period of 100% reimbursement from 5 days to 45 days.”

Now instead of getting the standard, the Panhandle will receive an additional 40 days of complete reimbursement from FEMA when it comes to debris.

Panama City native, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis was in attendance and he said he’s glad Florida has a governor that is committed to helping people, “We’re hard working folks in Northwest Florida but we’re not needy. We like to take care of ourselves but right now, this is a little bit overwhelming for us and to know that we are still on his mind every day, for the last two weeks he’s been governor and before then, just brings tears to my heart.” 

The Governor had a brief question and answer session before departing to return to Tallahassee.

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