Thursday, 16 August 2012 - 5:49pm
Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward announced today that after a renewed appeal, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will reimburse the City of Pensacola for an additional $1,012,389 for costs associated with Hurricane Ivan.
The City incurred costs of $1,369,891 for the removal of debris from 64 City parks after the hurricane. Due to a disagreement over the reasonable cost for the work, FEMA reimbursed only $357,047. Appeals submitted by the previous City administration were denied, and the process stalled as FEMA closed the case in February 2010.
Shortly after taking office, Mayor Hayward traveled to Washington, D.C. in March 2011 to renew the appeal, personally meeting with representatives from FEMA. Hayward also flew to Orlando to meet with Senator Bill Nelson about the appeal, and made regular calls to officials to ensure the appeal was on track.
“This is a huge win for the City of Pensacola,” said Mayor Hayward. “Immediately after taking office, I made pursuing these FEMA dollars a top priority. With our new form of government, one of the mayor’s duties is to truly advocate and fight for our city, whether it’s for jobs, investment, or federal dollars that we’re owed. I want to thank Senator Nelson, his chief of staff Pete Mitchell, as well as Congressman Jeff Miller for all of their support and hard work on this issue.”
“It’s incredibly important for a leader to leverage every relationship and have the tenacity and determination to get things done,” said City Administrator Bill Reynolds.
In a letter sent earlier today, FEMA Deputy Associate Administrator Elizabeth Zimmerman noted that FEMA’s initial denials were based on only collecting and hauling debris, and did not consider additional work performed by the City’s contractor, such as hazardous tree, limb, and stump removal. Finding that the City’s “requested funding … is a reasonable cost for the work performed,” Zimmerman determined that the City’s appeal should be granted in full. The determination represents the final decision on this matter.