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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Wilmington to request additional $4.5 million for Florence costs, brings total to $22 million

Debris pickup in New Hanover county will start Monday (Port City Daily/Ben Schachtman)
Debris pickup in New Hanover county will start Monday (Port City Daily/Ben Schachtman)

WILMINGTON — For the third time in as many City Council meetings, Wilmington’s leaders will vote on allocating more money to help fund Hurricane Florence relief efforts — this time to the tune of $4.5 million.

If approved, the request will bring the debt total to more than $20 million for storm repairs and debris cleanup.

“This request of $4.5 million is in addition to the appropriation of $9 million from the General Fund approved by Council on October 2, 2018 and the appropriation of $8.5 million from the debt service fund approved by Council on October 16, 2018. The total request of Council to appropriate funds to recover from Hurricane Florence, should this request be approved, would be $22 million,” according to City Manager Sterling Cheatham in the City council agenda.

The funds would be used to pay for debris removal and monitoring, which at the high end is estimated to cost $20 million. An additional $654,614 was spent on city employee bonuses and around $2.3 million is being spent on city repairs to buildings damaged.

The initial funds will have to come from the city’s own accounts, but hopefully, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will provide reimbursement for expenses.

“The Debt Service Fund has available fund balance for this additional temporary loan to the General Fund, to be repaid with the anticipated FEMA reimbursement. We estimate that repayment to the Debt Service Fund could be in the next fiscal year. FEMA reimburses 75-percent of eligible costs. Debris removal reimbursement should be received sooner than other expenses. These costs should be finalized by year end,” Cheatham said.


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