Panama City leaders urge lawmakers: fund Michael recovery before next hurricane

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — City officials from Panama City, Florida, are in Washington this week urging lawmakers and federal officials to get moving already — and get their city the federal disaster relief it so desperately needs. 

It’s been more than six months since category 5 Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida panhandle and Panama City Mayor Greg Brudnicki says most of the coast is still in shambles.

For this city, getting back to normal will come at a price.

“We’ve got a $90 million dollar budget,” said Brudnicki. “We’ve already exhausted our reserves, we’ve borrowed $75 million dollars.”

Brudnicki joins other Panama City officials in Washington to ask Congress and federal agencies for more money to cover the estimated $1 billion dollars worth of damage. Brudnicki continued:

“It is time for them to pony up. We need our funding to keep going.”

So far, Congress has failed to pass a disaster aid bill as Democrats and Republicans squabble over which areas get how much money. 

Hurricane season will begin again in just over a month, a fact that weighs heavily on local leaders.

“We’re 31 days away from the next hurricane season and there’s nothing to prevent us from being exposed to another hurricane event maybe as large as Hurricane Michael,” said Mark McQueen, City Manager. “We need to recover from Hurricane Michael.”

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