ROCKLEDGE, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - As Hurricane Dorian was churning, Brevard County‘s Emergency Pperation Center (EOC) was bustling.
Kimberly Prosser is the director of the EOC and explains that running the situation room fully staffed, along with relocating patients from a local hospital, bringing in extra deputies, and opening shelters, all falls into the same category of "disaster preparation." Now, county and state officials would like the federal government to pay for the costs -- approximately $6.5 million.
If President Trump makes an emergency declaration for Brevard County, federal money becomes available. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says he's working on that.
"I think we will probably get it, because FEMA is in a situation where these counties and the state, we did what you would want us to do. I mean we actually took steps to prepare," Desantis said.
Meanwhile, county officials say they're still assessing the damage from Dorian in terms of beach erosion, estimated at $7 million to $10 million. That stings, because a beach renourishment project that leaned heavily on federal funding just concluded.
One state lawmaker who spoke to FOX 35 says Brevard County shouldn't count on big federal checks to recuperate from Dorian, adding that the county commission should have emergency money on standby for hurricanes. The lawmaker points to the fact that Dorian was the first storm of the season and it missed us. The lawmaker says asking for assistance now would be ill-advised. Governor DeSantis doesn't agree.
"The idea that, because the storm moved one way, that somehow they are going to be left holding that entire bag, that sends the message to folks to, well, maybe skimp on that next time. What that will end up leading to is that when a storm does hit, the damage will be worse from the federal perspective because they'll have to pay more money." Desantis said.
"I would expect us to be reimbursed, this is what FEMA tells us to do, and we did it," Prosser said.
To recap and add this up, Brevard County is looking at a loss of $13 million to $16 million. FEMA could cover all of it or some of it or none of it, and Brevard is just one of 24 counties looking for the help.