Lee County Task Force for Hurricane Ian recovery

Reporter: Gail Levy Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

Many people, businesses, and industries are working to recover after Hurricane Ian dealt a punishing blow to their livelihood.

What if there was one voice when it came to asking for money or getting reimbursed from FEMA?

Soon after Hurricane Ian, the people in charge in Bay County during Hurricane Michael visited Lee County. They advised our leaders to form a task force and, with once voice, fight for the money Lee County needs to recover, and that’s what they’re going to do.

Hurricane Ian was easily the most expensive hurricane to hammer Lee County. Commissioner Kevin Ruane is heading up recovery through the Lee County task force. But his job is not to follow but to find the money necessary to recover.

Task Force meeting. CREDIT: WINK News

The recovery task force comprises every mayor in Lee County’s cities, towns, and villages, a school board representative, the fire districts, the property appraiser, and others who play critical roles in recovery and reconstruction.

“We need to obviously make sure that we collaborate, we have the public engaged, and we execute, because it’s this group of people they’re going to help this area come back,” chairman of the Lee County Recovery Task Force, Kevin Ruane, said.

There’s already been more than $830,000,000 in loans secured in Lee County. But before spending that money, each of the eight branches of the task force, like economic recovery, housing, or infrastructure, has to come back with a list of priorities and build on what every city, town, and village in Lee County’s already accomplished.

Kevin Anderson name tag at Task Force meeting. CREDIT: WINK News

“So we have a lot to do between now and the next meeting,” Ruane said.

“Here we are five months later tomorrow to the day. I don’t think anyone would have thought we would be where we are right now. As compared to where we were on September 29. The day after the storm,” Holly Smith, the mayor of Sanibel, said

But there is much more to do and a long way to go to get everything done, and the Task Force wants to hear from as many people as possible.

Click here to reach out to the Task Force.

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