Hurricane Michael Hits Apalachicola, Florida and Franklin County in Its Purses

The financial toll of Hurricane Michael on Franklin County is becoming clear, and it hurt.

In a report to county commissioners on the effect the Oct. 10 storm had on the county’s tax base, Property Appraiser Rhonda Skipper wrote that based on an estimate derived from examining the 2018 tax roll, the county sustained a loss of about $44.2 million in overall market value.

“This is just an estimate, as my staff and I are still working on land values,” she wrote.

Skipper and the other property appraisers in the affected counties have been asked by the Florida Department of Revenue to estimate property losses.

Former County Planner Alan Pierce, who serves as the county’s liaison for securing RESTORE Act monies, suggested to commissioners that they use these numbers as a basis for its request to the Triumph board for tax assistance. He said Triumph staff has agreed that these Department of Revenue estimates might be “a common starting point for determining how TRIUMPH reimburses all the counties.”

Pierce plans to attend a special Triumph board meeting in Panama City Friday which will focus on tax relief and how these Triumph funds, secured as a result of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, might be used to help the affected Panhandle counties.

One suggestion that will be discussed by the Triumph board is whether to use these funds as possible loans to the counties. The commissioners sounded a resounding voice of objection to this idea.

In his remarks, Commissioner Bert Boldt praised Clerk of Courts Marcia Johnson and her finance staffer Erin Griffith for being on hand to answer questions about county finances.

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Source: Apalachicola Times