Prince George's County spent $8 million repairing the County Administration Building, which was damaged by Tropical Storm Lee last year. But county officials say insurance coverage and FEMA reimbursements mean taxpayers won't have to foot the bill.
About $5 million will come from insurance payouts, while the rest will come from natural disaster relief funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Thomas Himler, the county's chief administrative officer for budget, finance and administration.
"Essentially that entire project will be covered by noncounty funds," Himler said. "We're not taking money from any other projects."
In September 2011, less than two weeks after Hurricane Irene caused states of emergency to be declared up and down the East Coast, rainfall from Tropical Storm Lee drenched Prince George's County. The first floor of the County Administration Building was waterlogged.
"We never had an event like that," Himler said. "The water was about 3 feet high."
While it cost the county slightly more than $1 million to repair the building, it took millions of dollars more to repair the water damage to government documents stored in the building and a nearby warehouse. Documents from the courthouse and Department of Corrections were among the most damaged .
"We hired a company that essentially dried them out, decontaminated them and put a protective seal over them," Himler said.
The rest of the costs were from the loss of servers and other technology as well as relocation costs for agencies that had been affected. The lengthy rebuilding process took until the spring.
Because a state of emergency had been declared, though, the county can rely on the federal government to pay for whatever insurance doesn't cover, Himler said.
Federal officials handed out nearly $27 million to Maryland and Virginia to cover the local costs of the two storms, and $7.66 million of that went to Maryland specifically for Lee recovery.