Jacksonville was lucky and avoided the widespread destruction that Hurricane Matthew could have produced in our immediate area. Thank you to all of you for heeding evacuation orders, displaying patience with power outages, and for helping your neighbors. Nevertheless, there was plenty of debris to clean up, private and public property damage, and disruption of daily living. While on an individual level, there were clean-up glitches here and there and JEA substantially underestimated the time it would take to restore power, I think the City did a remarkable job throughout the process. Congratulations to the Mayor and his team for their decisiveness and efficient response! We are continuing to meet on after action reports and opportunities for improvement.
Meanwhile, legislation is currently making its way through City Council to approve an agreement with the State regarding reimbursement procedures on clean-up and public facilities. Basically, the Federal government will reimburse 75% of the cost, the state will reimburse 12.5% and the remaining 12.5% will be a City expense. We have been building the balance in the Emergency Reserve for just this use so the City will be able to advance the funds for repairs as needed. The general rule is that we have 18 months to complete the repairs and the City will be working hard to get all repairs made in that time frame. As with most government contracts, there is a process to be followed and we must be certain to complete the steps, in order, to qualify for reimbursement.
You probably noticed that Hugenot Park re-opened last week after the City appropriated its own funds to do that initial work. Many of the dock, park, public building roof repairs, and infrastructure repairs should be starting this spring. Large projects such as repair of the Jacksonville Beach pier, may extend beyond the 18 month period.