Diaz-Balart Works with Collier County Leaders Toward FEMA Resolution
WASHINGTON – Earlier this week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that Collier County achieved a substantial victory in a 10-year struggle with FEMA over reimbursement for sand replenishment and beach restoration projects following Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma in 2005 and Tropical Storm Gabrielle in 2001. Collier County pursued a corrective response to reverse FEMA’s decision to take back (deobligate) millions in funding previously approved by both the Florida Department of Emergency Management (FDEM) and FEMA. FEMA granted Collier’s appeal of $7.76 million after considerable documentation showed Collier was eligible for costs associated with sand replacement and engineering, survey, and environmental compliance costs. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) welcomed the news with the following statement:
“This is a big step in the right direction for Collier and shows what is possible when we all work together to limit the overreach of the federal government. Together, Collier County leadership and the Southwest Florida Congressional Delegation have worked closely to resolve this for more than three years with letters, meetings, and conference calls with FEMA. I especially want to thank County Manager Leo E. Ochs, Jr., Deputy County Manager Nick Casalanguida, Coastal Zone Manager Gary McAlpin and their hard-working staff for their determination in settling this issue with a positive solution. I also want to recognize County Commission Chair Tim Nance for his continued involvement and engagement.
“As Floridians, we are fully aware of the vital role FEMA plays before, during, and after a natural disaster and I am pleased we were able to resolve this. The beaches of Collier County are important to the area’s tourism and economy, and protecting and restoring them for residents and visitors alike is something we must continue.
“I also want to commend my colleague, Congressman Curt Clawson, for quickly getting up to speed on this complex issue and for our collaborative approach to resolving problems for the residents of Southwest Florida.”