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The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is awarding the city of Marco Island a $1,107,000 grant to fund a wind retrofit project at the North Water Treatment Plant.

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"Protecting the sewage treatment plant will avoid sewage spill and maintain service to critical facilities and residents," FEMA indicated in a press release.

Councilor Larry Honig said it’s great to see Marco Islanders' tax dollars being used to prepare the island for future hurricanes and thanked deputy fire chief Chris Byrne for making this happen.

"We owe a big thank you to Chris Byrne, who returned from retirement to lead the hurricane mitigation effort that made these grants possible," Honig said.

Councilor Jared Grifoni also gave a shout-out to Byrne.

"This grant award is a continued testament to the hard work of Chris Byrne and city staff," Grifoni said. "They have put in the time and best efforts to secure these funds that will improve Marco Island's defenses during future storm events."

Hazard Mitigation Grant Project (HMGP) dollars help strengthen communities by improving buildings, facilities and infrastructure that people use every day, according to FEMA. "A 2018 report from the National Institute of Building Sciences found that one dollar spent on hazard mitigation will save more than six dollars of recovery and rebuilding costs," FEMA said.

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Florida has a FEMA-approved Enhanced Mitigation Plan, making the state eligible for HMGP funding not to exceed 20 percent of the estimated total amount of money spent by FEMA on disaster grants in the Hurricane Irma disaster, according to FEMA. "From this amount, HMGP reimburses the state up to 75 percent of eligible costs for mitigation projects. The remaining amount comes from other sources such as state and local assets and a combination of cash and in-kind sources," FEMA said.

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