Hurricane Michael: three months later

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Thursday marks three months since Hurricane Michael ravaged the Panhandle. While some feel like recovery efforts have been successful, others feel there's still much more work to be done.

Commissioner Griff Griffits understands those frustrations saying, "We know we've got a long way to go. We still have a lot to clean up. We still have a lot to get us back to where we were pre-storm levels. So we're getting there but we have a long way to go."

Thus far, a little over 20 million cubic yards of debris have been picked up in Bay County. The county has spent $8.4 million, but Griffits anticipates the total cost for Bay county's recovery effort will be around $400 million dollars. The school board estimates there has been about a 30 percent decline in student population.

But Griffits believes one of the county's most vital assets will be something that fosters the future of Bay County.

"The Commission has created a long-term Recovery Task Force. It consists of all seven mayors plus the superintendents that designate. Those individuals are tasked with chairing individual committees, whether its health and human services, education, infrastructure, technology... those folks will be charged with leading us into the future with their ideas," Griffits said.

As for what Bay County will look like three months from now?

Griffits said, "Spring is coming. We're gonna have some new growth on some trees, we're gonna plant a lot of trees, everyone is going to be on the same page moving forward to make this a bigger and better Bay County."

According to FEMA, as of January 4th, Bay County residents have received more than $546 million in federal funds, Jackson County has received more than $56 million, and Gulf County residents have received more than $111 million.