DEM Outlines Recovery Process Improvements
In order to distribute federal funding from disasters more efficiently, the Division of Emergency Management has taken various steps to improve our processes. DEM is 100% committed to helping local communities efficiently navigate this complex federal process. DEM has taken aggressive action to implement changes since opportunities for improvement were identified partway through the Matthew reimbursement process, including:
Brought on additional technical experts to expedite project worksheets through review.
Augmented our staff to assist in the state review of projects for corrections or compliance issues. This has eliminated the backlog of reviews that existed less than a month ago and greatly expedited the reimbursement process.
Begun issuing weekly updates to all cities and counties regarding the status of their reimbursements. These are current, accurate and completely transparent reports.
Begun working with our local association partners to ensure we effectively communicate to local leadership the process, where reimbursement projects currently stand and how we can best assist fiscally constrained communities.
Worked with State and Federal partners to eliminate obstacles and expedite their portions of the review process.
Begun proactively communicating with applicants to make sure they understand what affirmative steps they must take to request their funds and provide whatever documentation the Federal reimbursement process requires.
Begun pre-validating projects before FEMA obligates or applicants request reimbursement. This is helping reduce Division turnaround time.
Instituted a strategic list of projects for pre-validation of costs. This results in those projects being ‘payment ready’ when a Request for Reimbursement (RFR) is submitted.
As of this week, our recovery bureau has validated 97 of 210 high priority projects and are calling each subrecipient to assist with submitting their requests for reimbursement.
Tasked our developers to update and improve the software utilized in project tracking. This will not only greatly improve responsiveness, but will allow for subrecipients to access the system and track there projects in real time, providing full transparency.
DEM will continue to review its internal process to eliminate unnecessary and redundant steps, expediting reimbursements as much as possible. In addition, it is important to note where reimbursements currently stand and the great progress that has been made in recent weeks:
Using an approximate initial projection of $700 million in eligible reimbursable cost for Hermine and Matthew:
Applicants still need to build project worksheets (PWs) for roughly half of all eligible projects.
Roughly half of all eligible projects have been entered into the reimbursement system.
Of those projects in the system, which total approximately $321 million:
Just over half, or roughly $235 million, is still under review for federal obligation
Just under half, or $136 million, has been obligated by FEMA.
Of the $136 million that has been obligated:
Approximately $67 million has been paid to applicants.
Approximately $40 million is waiting for communities to file the official request for reimbursement with supporting documentation.
Approximately $29 million is in processing disbursement in the next few days or weeks.
Emergency managers and local leaders across Florida have expressed optimism with regards to the changes and effects they’ve seen, especially when comparing the ongoing Irma recovery to that of last year’s storms. Though there is work to be done, keeping Floridians safe and helping our state’s communities successfully recover are the Division’s top priorities. We will continue to explore every solution and consider every option to eliminate barriers and make sure Florida’s communities receive every dollar they are due as quickly as possible.
For more information on resources available to those affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, please visit: www.FloridaDisaster.org/info. Follow us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/flsertand on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FloridaSERT.DEM Outlines Recovery Process Improvements