Hilton Head receives first FEMA reimbursement check, ten months after Hurricane Matthew

South Carolina News

HILTON HEAD, Sc. (WSAV) – Ten months after Hurricane Matthew, the Town of Hilton Head received its first reimbursement check from FEMA for the money spent on disaster recovery.

“The roads, the drainage ditches, the damage to parks, the debris in peoples’ yards that was taken to the side of the road… Picking all of that up processing it getting it all out of here, all of those things that has added up,” said Hilton Head Town Manager, Steve Riley.

That price so far: $46 million dollars.

“We had about $26 million in reserves we’ve spent all of that. We have borrowed $20 million in short-term loans that have to be paid back next May,” Riley said.

But this week marks what Riley calls a milestone for the island.

“First check! Yes, yes more to come hopefully,” he said.

The town’s first reimbursement check from FEMA is for $1.3 million of the total $36 million eligible for repayment.

“Once you can get that first check in,” said Riley, “Jump through all the hoops… we’ve been through all the paperwork, hopefully the rest of it will start to flow.”

And with this first check, comes a farewell to the trucks that have been cleaning debris the island for the past ten months.

“Crowder Gulf, this contract that we’ve had with them, the big trucks that’s been picking up all this debris… they’re finally going home,” he said “After all this time, they’re going home this week.”

He adds “I’m not gonna say we’re going to miss them, but we sure did appreciate having them here. And it’s another milestone.”

The plan now is to keep replenishing funds as quickly as possible.

“So if the next storm comes this year, God forbid, we do have money and we can get to work again because that’s our newest concern is we’re right back in hurricane season,” Riley said.

The town will do that by borrowing another $20 million in September for back up. They plan to pay that off with the increase in millage rates coming to the island.

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