A tree fell across the entrance to Glynn County’s Public Works department headquarters during Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. 

Glynn County received $1.5 million reimbursement check Monday for Hurricane Matthew-related expenses from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.

Hurricane Matthew hit the Golden Isles in October 2016, and the county applied for reimbursement from GEMA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency not long after.

“We are very appreciative to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency for their due diligence in working with FEMA to secure these funds on our behalf,” said County Manager Alan Ours in an email Wednesday. “We look forward to continuing to work with GEMA and FEMA to secure the remainder of the reimbursable funds for Hurricane Matthew.”

Disaster recovery expenses had to be extensively documented to qualify for reimbursement, however, to the point where the county saw the need to hire crisis management consulting firm Witt O’Brien’s to monitor its debris removal activities.

“It’s just hard to wait that long to get reimbursement for something that happened two years ago, but I’m glad we got it,” said Glynn County Commission Chairman Bill Brunson.

According to Glynn County Finance Department staff, the county spent an estimated $11,640,977 on repairing damage and clearing debris following Hurricane Matthew and expects to receive a total of $10,025,872 in reimbursements.

GEMA sent the county two checks on Monday worth $909,403.06 and $678,103.97, totaling $1,587,507, to cover hurricane damage repair and debris removal expenses accrued in the wake of the 2016 storm.

The agency is still expected to reimburse another $546,868. Roughly $49,934 of that was spent on debris removal. Another $272,592 went toward early protective measures, and another $139,122 went to repairing the St. Simons Island Marina pier. The county is also waiting for reimbursement of another $85,220 spent on repairing beach accesses.

The county has already been reimbursed for most of the storm debris pickup from the hurricane, which was one of the larger single expenditures. All hurricane-related repair projects are complete and waiting on reimbursement, according to Public Works Director Dave Austin.

GEMA and FEMA have reimbursed relatively little of the money the county spent following Hurricane Irma.

After Irma, Glynn County spent around $10,109,269 on repairs and debris removal. Finance department figures show the county is expecting $9,762,762 in reimbursement and had received $40,518.

Hurricane Irma reimbursements look like they’re slow in coming as well, Brunson said. On the bright side, it shows the county government is financially stable, he added.

“I think it speaks volumes about the financial position of the county government that we can operate without those funds at the level we have been. It should offer the public some comfort,” Brunson said.

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