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Longboat Key Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019 9 months ago

Longboat receives more than $300,000 for 2016 hurricane damage

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Hermine brought 16 inches of rain to the area, and damaged town's beaches with high surf and surge.
by: Suzanne Elliott Staff Writer

For Longboat Key, it pays to wait.

Just days after receiving more than $6.6 million from the state and federal governments for beach damage caused by Tropical Storm Debby in 2012, the town got another reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency this week.

Town Manager Tom Harmer said Longboat Key received $337,477.62  from the Federal Emergency Management Agency stemming from Hurricane Hermine, which struck in the first week of September 2016.

“It’s good news for us,” Harmer said.

Hurricane Hermine delivered 16 inches of rain in two days to the town, which added to tidal flooding on town streets. Trees toppled and power failed, though no homes were reported damaged by floodwaters. Making landfall in the panhandle, Hermine was the first hurricane to directly strike Florida since Wilma in 2005. Though it stayed well offshore Florida's southwest Florida, the northeast-moving storm delivered west and southwest winds to the coast, driving waves and storm tides ashore.

The town’s FEMA claim was based on sand losses caused by Hermine's surf, Harmer said. About 17,000 cubic yards was reported lost, according to the town's application. 

Like the $6.6 million received earlier this month, the latest reimbursement will go into the town’s beach fund, which is now in excess of $10 million. Money from that account will be used to offset expenses for planned groin projects, including constructing five on the northern end of the island at an estimated cost of more than $13 million. The town is going through the permitting process to move forward with that project.

There are still pending state and FEMA claims the town is following up on, too.

These include $357,947 for damages from Tropical Storm Fay in August 2008; $14,174.63 for additional damages from Debby and $367,593 for damage caused by Hurricane Irma in September 2017.

Along with the groin projects, the town is also planning a possible 2024 beach nourishment project. The town spent $1.1 million last fall to place 1,400 dump trucks full of sand along 600 feet of beach along North Shore Road to account for sand lost in storms. That sand had to be trucked in from Polk County.

The town has been nourishing its beaches since 1992, when Longboat Key's Beach Erosion Control Districts were established. District A encompasses owners of all gulfside and non-residential properties, who pay 80% of the levy. District B encompasses the remainder of town properties.

 

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