What FEMA's new cost share will mean for local governments and citizens

Published: May. 13, 2019 at 4:56 PM CDT
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Until recently, the federal government has offered to pay 75% of recovery costs for local communities after hurricane Michael. But now, "We will have the federal government pay for 90 percent of the cost in many circumstances," said President Donald Trump during his rally in Panama City Beach.

This will save Bay County approximately $42 million. Bob Majka, Bay County Manager, said, "And so that results in a dramatic amount of savings to the county."

The remaining 10% will be divided between local and state governments.

Callaway Mayor Pamn Henderson said, "When it was 75% funding the city would have to pay twelve and a half percent so we're looking at a one and a half to two million dollars, roughly, difference."

Although the new 90/10 split will help with cleanup costs for local cities and counties, Majka says it could have an impact on your wallet too. "The more of those little victories we can achieve, the less and less the probability of a full-on tax increase having to result as a result of the storm," said Majka.

"You know, when it becomes a very large amount, that's more than reserves can cover, and ultimately if the amount gets too large, you hate to say it but it could impact ad valorem," said Henderson.

But for Henderson, the true difference is not just about the money they'll receive from FEMA, "But how quickly those reimbursements are gonna come- that's what's really going to make the difference," she said.

Majka says until the federal money is received, local governments will still have to write those checks until they are reimbursed.

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