FEMA approves $17.5 million reimbursement to Wilmington for debris removal

FEMA approves $17.5 million reimbursement to Wilmington for debris removal

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - FEMA will reimburse the City of Wilmington more than $17.5 million for debris removal in the wake of Hurricane Florence, the agency announced Monday.

According to a FEMA release, the approved reimbursement covers work completed between Sept. 20, 2018, and Feb. 22, 2019.

“FEMA reimburses applicants at least 75 percent of eligible costs, and the remaining 25 percent is covered by the state of North Carolina,” the release states. “FEMA’s share for this project was about $13.1 million. The federal share is paid directly to the state, which disburses funds to agencies, local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations that incurred costs.”

In February, city staff estimated that Wilmington was facing estimated expenses in excess of $31 million due to Hurricane Florence.

“This is the first reimbursement from federal and state funds for expenses the city incurred following the September 2018 hurricane,” said Malissa Talbert, communications manager for the city of Wilmington.

Talbert said of the $31 million in expenses for cleanup and repair, $22 million of that went to debris pickup.

“The city expects to receive the reimbursement before June 30, which is the end of the city’s fiscal year,” Talbert added.

The funds will be put back into the city’s savings account, which Wilmington officials maintain for emergencies such as Florence.

“The city greatly appreciates this reimbursement for debris pickup from Hurricane Florence. With almost 1.4 million cubic yards of debris picked up, this storm was one of the most damaging in our history. We are still working to pick up the pieces from this storm and we will continue to work with our partner agencies to help our community recover,” said Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo.

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