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FEMA declares individual disaster relief for Polk, Pasco

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has now amended their initial Federal Disaster Declaration to include Pasco County and Polk County for individual assistance.

The declaration now will allow individuals in both counties affected by Hurricane Irma to receive recovery support and disaster assistance.

“This is so important because there are many people suffering throughout my district,” said Congressman Gus Bilirakis of Tarpon Springs. “This financial support will go a long way in helping residents as they recover from Hurricane Irma.”

Added Polk County-area Congressman Dennis Ross: “The people of Polk County desperately need this relief. Folks have lost everything and have suffered so much.”

Residents of those counties can now make claims for individual assistance through FEMA by visiting or by calling (800) 621-3362.

Ross represents Florida’s 15th Congressional District, which includes parts of Hillsborough and Lake Counties, in addition to Polk. Bilirakis represents Florida’s 12th District, which encompasses parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties, in addition to Pasco.

Both GOP congressmen indicated in respective press releases that it was only thorough their lobbying that residents in their districts can now get federal assistance from the hurricane.

“Since before Hurricane Irma made landfall, I have been fighting tirelessly to ensure those in my district and throughout the entire state of Florida are safe and have the resources and information needed to protect themselves,” Ross said. “I have spoken to FEMA every day, multiple times a day, for nearly a week now to assess the status of and fight for relief for my district and the counties I represent.”

Ross is also calling on the IRS to postpone certain deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the declared disaster area, something that Florida’s U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson also called for.

“I ask that you use all means within your authority to provide appropriate administrative relief to taxpayers affected by the storm—including a delay in quarterly estimated payments, a delay in tax filing deadlines, and a moratorium on private debt collection proceedings,” Nelson, a Democrat, said Tuesday.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at [email protected]

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