Wilmington City Council approves another $8.5 mil in Florence recovery funding

View The Original Article Here

Wilmington City Council approved $8.5 million in Hurricane Florence recovery unding for debris cleanup, repairs and employee compensation.

WILMINGTON — The city is digging a little deeper into its pockets to approve more Hurricane Florence recovery funding.

At their meeting Tuesday, the Wilmington City Council unanimously approved $8.5 million in relief funding, an additional appropriation that comes two weeks after the council approved $9 million for debris cleanup efforts. In total, the city has now set aside $17.5 million to date.

The $8.5 million will specifically go to repair damaged city buildings and their contents, as well as additional debris removal, the total cost of which could reach $20 million by year’s end.

Included in the money will also be $654,000 designated as bonus compensation for some 768 city employees who worked during Florence despite city offices being closed.

That compensation will be awarded in the form of half-time bonus pay for all hours worked during the 12 days of storm activation for 645 non-exempt/hourly essential personnel (average $849 per employee), while 123 exempt/salaried essential personnel will be awarded bonus leave time for half of all hours worked (average 4 days of bonus time).

The bonuses will be implemented in the Nov. 1 payroll cycle.

The $8.5 million in funding will be drawn from the debt service fund and put into the city’s general fund balance, as it will be submitted for repayment from FEMA.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the city also awarded the Wilmington Convention Center $250,000 to contribute to extensive water damage remediation. The center, which will host the “One Tree Hill” fan convention this weekend, suffered moisture buildup and mold growth from water damage in the aftermath of Florence.

Several rooms within the building are still closed due recovery efforts.

Reporter Hunter Ingram can be reached at Hunter.Ingram@StarNewsOnline.com.