The Florida Legislature has sent a Bill to Governor Ron DeSantis that would provide $700 million to municipalities hit hard by recent hurricanes. SB 2B would establish an emergency bridge loan fund and replenish the state’s catastrophe fund. The bill was taken up during a Special Session last week and DeSantis is expected to sign it.
The bill creates the Local Government Emergency Bridge Loan Program within the Department of Economic Opportunity to provide financial assistance to local governments that show losses in revenues due to the impacts of Hurricane Ian or Hurricane Nicole.
The town of Fort Myers Beach lost all of its parking revenue following Hurricane Ian. There was also lost revenue due to a 90-day moratorium the town placed on permit fees. And, ad-valorum tax revenue was lower than anticipated before the storm.
The funds from the state may only be used for operational expenses, not fixed capital outlay, and are interest-free for up to 1 year, which may be extended up to 6 months based on ongoing financial hardship. The bill appropriates $50 million in nonrecurring funds from the General Revenue Fund for the program. The program expires on June 30, 2027.