Galveston County asked to send repayment of extra money sent by FEMA following Hurricane Ike

Erica Simon Image
Tuesday, September 12, 2023
Galveston Co. sent excess money by FEMA due to Hurricane Ike
Galveston County was reportedly overpaid millions in relief funds from Hurricane Ike in 2008, FEMA said, which is looking for repayment.

GALVESTON COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Galveston County may have to fork over millions of dollars due to what FEMA calls an overpayment of Hurricane Ike funds.

Local officials recently discussed it at Commissioners Court and said it may be a misunderstanding. They say they're looking into the letter FEMA sent them on Aug. 4, which told them they have 30 days to pay back $ 2.8 million in relief funds

That was item number three on the latest commissioners' court agenda. The alleged excess in funds was for a FEMA Hazard Mitigation Project relating to Hurricane Ike, and now the Texas Department of Emergency Management is requesting repayment.

ABC13 ARCHIVE: A look back at Hurricane Ike

As we all remember, Ike obliterated coastal areas of Galveston County, like Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula, in 2008 and left years of damage behind.

County officials say they were approved for a home buyout program from 2009 to 2013 meant to convert hundreds of Ike-damaged houses. Still, according to the county grant administrator, they may have never received the total amount.

"The best that my office can determine is that these were houses that were accidentally submitted as being purchased, but the people backed out at the very last minute. When we researched the CAD documents, we do not own these properties," Galveston County Grant Administrator Betsy Thomas said.

SEE ALSO: 'Ike Dike' proposal aims to become coastal barrier to increase protection from future hurricanes

If it turns out Galveston County was overpaid and did not pay back the $2.8 million, FEMA has threatened to withhold money from the county in future disasters.

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