Villages officials remain optimistic the Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide reimbursement for expenses related to Hurricane Irma last Sept. 11.
FEMA often reimburses local governments for up to 95 percent of disaster-related costs, although the money may be slow in coming. A recent congressional budget deal allocated more money for disaster relief.
“We anticipate we will be receiving reimbursement,” District Manager Janet Tutt told Community Development District 2 supervisors on Friday.
In some cases, she said, reimbursement hasn’t come for years.
The Villages isn’t alone in awaiting FEMA checks.
“The system is stretched,” said Mark White of Purvis, Gray & Co., an accounting firm that recently completed CDD audits. “We’re seeing a lot of FEMA attention with our local government clients. We’re optimistic and hopeful things will happen by Sept. 30.”
Sept. 30 is the end of the fiscal year for local governments.
For at least two districts, hurricane expenses helped drive their 2016-17 budgets into the red.
CDD 3 ended the 2017 with $1.25 million in revenue, $1.4 million in expenses and a $146,000 deficit. Hurricane expenses were $78,879 for the last fiscal year.
In CDD 4, Hurricane Irma expenses of $369,455 contributed to a $296,000 deficit for 2016-17.
When The Villages eventually receives FEMA funds, the money will pay for capital projects to improve storm water management and protect pumping stations from potential damage, said Assistant District Manager Richard Bauer.
The network of ponds and golf courses in The Villages helped protect the community from Hurricane Irma damage. Although flooded golf courses were closed for up to several weeks, no homes were flooded.
The Villages is sponsoring a pair of workshops on storm water management. The workshops at 3 p.m. Feb. 26 and March 2 at the Savannah Center will provide information on how the community’s storm water systems work, the source of irrigation water and environmental stewardship.
Tickets for the free event are available at box office locations and on the Internet at TheVillagesEntertainment.com.