Homeowners who want to repair their residences after a severe storm event can now do so without permitting fees through the end of the year.
Manatee County commissioners unanimously voted Tuesday to waive permit and floodplain management fees for those affected by the no-name storm that caused flooding in late August, Hurricane Irma and any other future storm event through the end of the year.
These building permits need to be completed in person at a Building and Development Services location — either at the fourth floor of the Manatee County Administrative Building, 1112 Manatee Ave. W., or the North River Annex, 5030 U.S. 301 N. in Ellenton — to confirm that the project will be storm-related.
Anyone who has already paid the fees for a storm-related repair since August will be reimbursed, according to the county.
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These repairs include fixes for plumbing, decks, driveways, lanais, roofs and others.
Commissioners also approved the first payments to SCS Engineers and Ashbritt, Inc., which have been contracted by the county to serve as the debris monitor and debris hauler, respectively.
The money, which will come from the Solid Waste fund, includes $1.85 million for SCS Engineers and and $12.2 million for Ashbritt.
“You’ll see one more of these,” utilities director Mike Gore told commissioners, noting that a second approval will be necessary by the board for additional work assignments and budget resolutions.
Gore said Tuesday 22 140-cubic yard haulers were out in the field. On Tuesday, crews began picking up “hangers and leaners,” defined as trees and limbs that have been downed across rights-of-way.
The utilities department had estimated that the eventual total cost will be around $27 million.
Commissioners on Tuesday also:
▪ Voted in favor of the 2018 medical and dental premiums for active and retired county employees by a vote of 4-3, with Commissioners Carol Whitmore, Robin DiSabatino and Charles Smith dissenting. A 7 percent increase to premiums was recommended, as the population of their employees is rising.
▪ Decided on five items high on their wishlist for the 2018 legislative platform: hurricane shelters, opioids, funding for transportation, home rule and the tourist development tax. Chairwoman Betsy Benac indicated she would like a workshop on details of hurricane shelters, such as capacity requirements and funding.
▪ Renewed the lease for the Rubonia Community Association Inc. for $1 for one year, ending on Sept. 30, 2018. The vote was 6-1, with Commissioner Charles Smith dissenting.