The cost of hurricane prep: Island awaiting FEMA reimbursement

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — The Island dodged a bullet when Hurricane Harvey sidestepped the Valley.

But the storm took a bite out of city finances as Island leaders prepared for the worst.

Now, Island officials are seeking a reimbursement from FEMA.

Recently, city leaders approved a budget item in the amount of $110,097 for expenditures associated with Hurricane Harvey.

City Manager Susan Guthrie said the figure will be submitted to FEMA for potential reimbursement.

The reimbursement request as a county as a whole is about $1.5 million, Guthrie said.

City leaders recalled being reimbursed by FEMA for expenditures after Hurricane Dolly hit the Island in 2008.

“We were not affected by Hurricane Harvey, however, the threat was real,” said Rodrigo Gimenez, Island chief financial officer.

Gimenez reported to the commissioners once the emergency management plan went into effect.

He reported a total of $110,097 was tracked in spending associated with Harvey.

“Some of the expenses are for regular hours for employees,” Gimenez said. “We will have some savings in some of the departments that will offset some of the costs.”

Public safety spent about 335 hours in preventive hours.

Hurricane pay and hours began to be tracked as soon as the emergency command center was opened.

Gimenez said 85 percent of the expenditures went to payroll and 15 percent to other expenditures.

Most of the other main costs went to sand, hauling, food and beverages, minor tools and equipment, fuel, storm sewer cleaning to make sure there was drainage and rental equipment used to face the situation.

“The vast majority of the expenditures were related to public safety, public works and environmental surveying and the shoreline,” Gimenez said.

The hurricane eventually turned and made devastating impact 150 miles north of the Island on the Coastal Bend.

COST OF A HURRICANE

Total Hurricane Harvey Island Expenditures

– PAYROLL: $93,453

– OTHER: $16,644

– TOTAL: $110,097

Island other expenditures – $16,644, including –

– Other misc. –  13 percent

– Food and Beverage – 17 percent

– Fuel & Lubricant – 10 percent

– Minor Tools & equipment – 11 percent

– Storm sewers – 9 percent

– Sand/hauling – 26 percent