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Red tide relief efforts come with a cost

Local cities, counties and towns are dealing with paying for red tide clean-up efforts.

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — The Tampa Bay area is experiencing an abundance of dead sea life because of red tide. With that, local cities and counties continue to hire clean-up crews to dispose of the dead marine life.

This comes with a cost to every municipality. For example, Pinellas County is working with the Florida Department of Environment Protection to cover the costs with the state's red tide funding.

For Pinellas County, they assist the city of St. Petersburg with reimbursing city officials for their red tide relief costs, like clean up. A spokesman for Pinellas County said they have given the city $902,000 in FL DEP grant money, but more is needed.

Currently, Pinellas County officials are working on an agreement with state officials to get more money to cover clean-up costs. County officials are asking for an increase of funds to cover both county costs and city costs. County officials said they are asking to raise the $902,000 in funding funds to $2.1 million. 

That money still needs to be approved.

As for how long it takes for a county to get reimbursed from the state, there's no set timeline.

10 Tampa Bay reached out to other cities and counties about their clean-up costs:

  • A spokesman for the city of Tampa said the city hasn't paid significant costs for clean-up efforts. At this point, Tampa city officials are not looking for state reimbursement. 
  • A spokesman for the city of Clearwater said, only if this is declared a state of emergency will they seek state and federal funding.
  • City officials in Sarasota are monitoring red tide and so far they have not needed cleanup crews.

10 Tampa Bay reached out to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to ask about how cities and counties get reimbursed. We want to find out if they see funds run low, but they have not responded to our calls and emails for an interview.

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