TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the award of a $25 million bridge loan to Lee County through the Local Government Emergency Bridge Loan Program. The program, created in a Special Legislative Session earlier this year, is administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) to support government operations that may have been impacted by hurricanes Ian or Nicole. These funds bridge the gap for local governments while they await federal relief or for their revenues to recover after a natural disaster. Today’s award adds to $11.9 million Governor DeSantis awarded to the Town of Fort Myers Beach through the Local Government Emergency Bridge Loan Program, bringing the total awarded in this program to nearly $37 million.
“I’m proud to announce Lee County is the second local government to receive a Local Government Emergency Bridge Loan to keep them on their feet as they focus on their continued recovery efforts following Hurricane Ian,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Thanks to the Florida Legislature for working quickly to implement this program, to bridge the gap for these local governments until their revenues recover.”
“Governor DeSantis has boldly led the state’s response and recovery efforts following hurricanes Ian and Nicole, deploying every available resource to help Floridians and communities in their recovery efforts,” said Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) Acting Secretary Meredith Ivey. “Today’s announcement is another demonstration of his ongoing commitment to helping local governments like Lee County while they continue to recover. We encourage eligible local governments to apply for this relief.”
“The Governor’s commitment to Southwest Florida is phenomenal,” said Senate President Kathleen Passidomo. “Together, we authored the Bridge Loan Program during the Special Session to help communities in Southwest Florida, including Lee County, continue their operations. The program is modeled after the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, which the Governor activates during an emergency. Loans are provided interest-free. Our communities brought this concern to our attention earlier this year, and together we took quick action to help make our communities whole!”
The Local Government Emergency Bridge Loan is a one-time $50 million appropriation to fund governmental operations within eligible Florida counties and municipalities between the time of the hurricane and the time additional funding sources or revenues are secured.
Counties and municipalities located in the Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster declarations for hurricanes Ian or Nicole may apply. A local government applying for a bridge loan must demonstrate that a hurricane may cause or has inflicted substantial loss of tax or other revenues. They must also establish the need for financial assistance to continue performing governmental operations.
DEO is accepting applications on a rolling basis until available funds are exhausted. Eligible applicants are encouraged to use this checklist to submit the required documentation and information via email to LocalGovernmentBridge@DEO.MyFlorida.com. For more information about the Local Government Emergency Bridge Loan Program, please visit www.FloridaJobs.org/LocalGovernmentBridge.