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Dan Summers, Director of Emergency Services for Collier County talks about what this money means for Collier County. Andrea Melendez, Fort Myers News-Press

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Collier County will receive another round of reimbursement, more than 18 months after Hurricane Irma devastated Southwest Florida, the governor announced Tuesday.  

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced in Naples that the county will receive $40.9 million for Hurricane Irma recovery reimbursement. 

"This will be used to reimburse the county for removing more than 3 million cubic yards of debris,” DeSantis said during the announcement at the Collier County Government Center. “You have to do it. The debris has to be cleaned up because it's the way to bring everyone back.”  

Margie Hapke, a spokeswoman for Collier County, said the funding will come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and $34.4 million of it had already been approved by the agency. 

Instead of cutting reimbursement checks directly to local governments, FEMA gives the money to the state's emergency response team, which then sends the money to the county.

The county has applied for additional reimbursement funds from FEMA, Hapke said. 

Irma struck Southwest Florida as a Category 3 on Sept. 10, 2017. In Collier County, at least 88 buildings were destroyed and 1,500 badly damaged.

Jared Moskowitz, director of Florida's Division of Emergency Management, also spoke, saying his department is working on getting monies processed faster.

“I know how important it is for cities and counties, some of which have depleted their reserves, as we go into hurricane season again,“ he said. 

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, although storms sometimes form outside those dates.

Meteorologist Phil Klotzbach and other experts from Colorado State University — regarded as the nation's top seasonal hurricane forecasters — predict 14 named tropical storms, of which seven will become hurricanes. Both numbers are above the average of 12 and six, respectively.

In case you missed it: 

Your photos: Hurricane Irma one year later

FEMA grants Naples $7 million for Irma expenses, but it could be years before the city gets that money

Hurricane Irma a wake-up call on climate change for many Southwest Floridians, new Conservancy of Southwest Florida survey shows

Relief money for Hurricane Irma finally reaching citrus growers

This story will be updated.

 

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