Isaac's damage could mean more than $1 million in federal aid for Collier

Scott McIntyre/Staff
Rik Beaton, right, carries a stack of beach chairs off the beach at Vanderbilt Beach Resort where storm precautions are being taken with rows of sandbags set up near the restaurant at the resort on Friday, August 24, 2012. Deaton, along with others from Cabana Dan's  Beach Service, will be clearing beach chairs and umbrellas off the beach throughout the weekend in preparation for the storm.

Photo by SCOTT MCINTYRE // Buy this photo

Scott McIntyre/Staff Rik Beaton, right, carries a stack of beach chairs off the beach at Vanderbilt Beach Resort where storm precautions are being taken with rows of sandbags set up near the restaurant at the resort on Friday, August 24, 2012. Deaton, along with others from Cabana Dan's Beach Service, will be clearing beach chairs and umbrellas off the beach throughout the weekend in preparation for the storm.

— Collier County has tallied a preliminary tab from Tropical Storm Isaac of more than $1 million, enough to put the county in line for federal assistance should the storm trigger a disaster declaration.

Damage assessment teams have fanned out across Florida, including visiting Everglades City last Friday and surveying for erosion on Collier beaches Wednesday, to determine whether Florida would qualify for federal help.

Florida could send a formal request for a disaster declaration by the end of the week, Florida Division of Emergency Management spokeswoman Julie Roberts said Wednesday.

If granted, the declaration would free up money through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to reimburse local governments for storm-related costs if they meet a certain cost threshold.

Damage to the beaches put Collier County over its $1.1 million threshold to qualify for federal help, according to preliminary estimates available Wednesday.

"I don't really have to count my pennies now (to make sure Collier hit its threshold)," said Collier County emergency management coordinator Rick Zyvoloski.

A preliminary damage assessment report from the beaches Wednesday put the cost of rebuilding the beaches at Vanderbilt Beach, Park Shore, Naples and Marco Island at $6 million.

Gary McAlpin, the county's coastal zone management coordinator, said he was surprised at the damage given Isaac's glancing blow two weeks ago.

"A little here and there and it adds up," he said.

Officials from the county, the Florida Division of Emergency Management and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers toured the beaches Wednesday morning and eyeballed the loss of sand from Isaac at 45,000 cubic yards — about enough sand to fill 2,500 dump trucks.

Formal surveys will be required to get federal reimbursement. Repairing the beaches is by far the county's largest storm-related expense, according to the county's preliminary accounting.

Everglades City had the largest storm-related tab, estimating it will cost the city almost $400,000 to repair roads and utilities, the county's tally shows.

Various government agencies reported spending a total of $439,000 to prepare for the storm; Lee County Electric Co-op reported spending $143,000 to get the power back on after it went out on Marco Island.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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