NW Florida Civic & Business Leaders Plead for Hurricane Recovery Funds

Just over a year after Hurricane Michael devastated parts of Northwest Florida, civic and business leaders continue to plead for more private-sector money to help with recovery.

The organization Rebuild 850, which was formed after last October’s Category Five storm estimates only about 50 percent of the recovery is complete.

Delays in insurance claim settlements and bureaucratic hurdles facing some small business owners have slowed the recovery process.

Additionally, State Senator Bill Montford, who represents portions of the affected area, feels many people across Florida don’t realize the struggle still facing the Panhandle.

“Don’t let us be forgotten. That’s the fear we have right now is that we cannot let Florida forget this unique part of the state.”

Craig Fugate, the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, says the pace of recovery needs to pick up, or some cities and counties may no longer be able to pay their bills.

“We’ve got to focus on the tax base of these cities and counties, and are we going to get to a point where they are generating enough revenue to provide the essential services they need just to hang on, and then potentially start moving into growth.”

Hurricane Michael made landfall last October 10th in Mexico Beach and caused billions of dollars in damage as it hammered Panama City and continued north through some of Florida’s poorest and most-rural communities.

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