Hollywood to get $4.6 million from FEMA for Hurricane Wilma clean-up



Nearly eight years after Hurricane Wilma ripped through Florida, Hollywood will receive $4.6 million to cover the costs of clean-up and removal of dangerous stumps and limbs.

The city has been fighting with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency for years to get reimbursed the cost of cleaning up the trees destroyed by the storm. FEMA originally determined the city had not counted correctly and only paid the Hollywood about $100,000. A year later, FEMA added about $720,000.

But the city argued it was eligible for federal disaster funds for the nearly 15,000 trees destroyed.

Vice Mayor Dick Blattner said the city never gave up, saying the money was money owed to the city.

“All of our efforts paid off,” he said.

In March 2012, the city filed its first appeal, which was denied.

In November 2012, the city filed a second appeal to the agency’s decision and on separate occasions Mayor Peter Bober, Vice Mayor Dick Blattner and Patrick Gill, from the city’s accounting division, traveled to Washington, D.C., to ask for the reimbursement.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schulz and U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson helped in the fight.

In a letter dated June 28, FEMA determined that “the applicant’s documentation supports the eligibility of the work performed.”

The city has not yet received the check, which will go into its coffers. The loan taken out to pay for the cleanup has already been paid back by the city, City Manager Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark said.

Bober said the decision was a long time in coming.

“The money was always ours,” he said. “We just caught up in a lot of red tape.”

Read more Broward stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category