Post-Irma, Brevard County still dealing with Hurricane Matthew woes

By Greg Pallone , Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 5:40 PM EDT

Brevard County continues to pick up after Hurricane Irma, but officials are still dealing with a issue from last year's Hurricane Matthew.

  • Brevard County still dealing with Hurricane Matthew issues
  • Area responsible for $400,000 due to missed FEMA deadline
  • Error was made at the state level, county officials said

And right now, the area is on the hook for close to $400,000, all due to a mistake at the state level of missing a FEMA deadline.

"If we are not going to get funded for it, tell us ahead of time," Brevard County District 4 Commissioner Curt Smith said. "Not after the fact."

Smith and fellow commissioners are still trying to recoup $391,000 from Hurricane Matthew cleanup.

Money from county coffers was used to clean debris from private roads after the storm rolled through.

"The state, they've admitted this, they dropped the ball," said Smith. "It's bureaucratic snafu, that's what it is."

The state instructed county leaders to file an appeal through them, instead of directly to FEMA.

Turns out that appeal wasn't filed before the deadline, and the request was denied.

Two state staffers were fired as a result, but Smith isn't happy Brevard is still looking for reimbursement nearly a year after Matthew.

"That doesn't alter the fact we are still waiting to be paid," Smith said.

In the meantime, the city of West Melbourne is taking care of debris cleanup in it's gated communities lined with private roads.

Officials have hired a private contractor to work in a dozen such city neighborhoods where last year's debris lined the streets for weeks.

City leaders aren't expecting reimbursement in the wake of what's happened to the county.

"Last year we spent $100,000 on debris pickup, we got reimbursement for some of that on the public streets, but not one penny on the private, gated communities," West Melbourne Mayor Hal Rose said.

Both Rose and Smith agree, they are puzzled why the federal government decided to not cover private road storm debris cleanup.