IRMA: Agencies add up OT cost of hurricane

By Trevor Pettiford, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, September 22, 2017, 5:04 PM EDT

Hurricane Irma blew the overtime budgets out of the water for many local governments.

  • Pinellas County Sheriff's Office spent $1.8 million on overtime
  • Agencies will apply for FEMA assistance
  • Hurricane Irma ravaged Florida, downing trees and stopping traffic lights

Many counties and cities in the Bay Area are still crunching the numbers, but they're expecting the overall totals to be in the millions of dollars for law enforcement overtime alone.

So far, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is topping the list of overtime costs, logging in $1.8 million worth of overtime.

Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Spencer Gross said most of their overtime was spent directing traffic.

"We had so many intersections," he said. "We're talking about over 300 intersections around the county that did not have power, which means we had traffic signals that were inoperable."

It's difficult for local government to plan or budget for so much overtime use, but FEMA is offering financial assistance.

Every jurisdiction affected by Irma is putting in an application to FEMA to help pay for the extra hours worked, but no one knows how much they'll actually pay.

"(We) don't know how much we'll get back, but we're going to apply for all of it," Gross said.

Those applications are due into FEMA sometime next month.