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State budget could include hurricane damage projects

Florida's next state budget may include a number of proposals to address damages caused by Hurricane Michael. Legislators have proposed repairs to the Mexico Beach Pier and Florida State University among over 100 projects that aim to repair damage caused by the October 2018 hurricane that swept through Northwest Florida. Over $500 million in budget requests have been made dealing with hurricane-related problems as well as proposals to bolster building safety in case of future damaging storms.

There have been a total of over 1,300 budget bills filed for the annual Florida legislative session, which will begin on March 5. In total, the bills comprise $2.5 billion worth of projects, meaning that one-fifth of them deal with hurricane damage and related expenses. Some of the proposals include $21 million to restore municipal operations in Panama City, $8.5 million for the Mexico Beach Pier and $1.73 million for Florida State University. A total of $54.9 million is being sought to address ongoing impacts on Bay County schools, including effects on employment in the area. Three schools were closed in the county after the hurricane as students and their families were displaced from the area due to a lack of housing. Local officials hope to reopen the schools as people return home.

Hurricane Michael hit Mexico Beach on Oct. 10. The Category 4 storm had peak winds of 155 mph and caused significant damage throughout the area. Over 144,000 hurricane damage claims have been filed with insurers, totaling almost $5.6 billion in losses covered by insurance.

People rely on insurance policies to cover their losses in case of storm damage and other serious incidents. However, some insurers may delay paying legitimate hurricane damage claims or even deny policyholders' claims. An insurance law attorney may help Florida homeowners to protect their rights and pursue the insurance benefits they deserve.

Source: WCTV, "Hurricane budget proposals continue piling up", 02/18/2019

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