Disaster preparedness financial relief through ‘Sales Tax Holiday,’ ‘Sheltering at Home for Recovery Continuation’ for limited Ian repairs

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May 31, 2023 – The State of Florida is offering disaster preparedness financial assistance through two programs: the 2023 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday and the UNITE Florida Sheltering at Home for Recovery Continuation (SHRC) Program.

“On the surface, it sounds odd to tie in recovery from last year with disaster preparedness for this year, but we want our residents to regain their balance – get back on solid footing – to be ready for the upcoming season,” said Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord. “The really great change to this year’s legislation for the Sales Tax Holiday signed by Governor Ron DeSantis is that there is a two-week period for the financial relief now through Friday, June 9, and a second period right before the peak of hurricane season, August 26 through September 8.”

Details of the UNITE Florida Sheltering at Home for Recovery Continuation (SHRC) Program are as follows:

  • It helps eligible homeowners with limited repairs, so they can live in their home while completing their recovery from Hurricane Ian
  • Applicants must have applied for FEMA Assistance and have an Applicant ID number
  • Additional details are available at https://ianrecovery.fl.gov/unite or 800-892-0948

The official start of hurricane season will be here rapidly, and Flagler officials are urging residents to prepare early by shopping locally and taking advantage of the upcoming Sales Tax Holiday, which runs for two weeks this year.

Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation May 6 designating a 2022 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday from Saturday, May 28 through Friday, June 10 – two full weeks.

During this sales tax holiday, items related to disaster preparedness are exempt from sales tax. This year’s holiday includes pet supplies.

“The addition of pet supplies is fabulous, as our pets are our family members. We ask residents to have a number of emergency supplies ready, and this is the perfect time to buy what you need or replace anything that may be out of date – all while saving a little money on the sales tax,” said Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord. “Remember to test things like flashlights and replace outdated batteries.”

Lawmakers agreed to lift sales taxes during the holiday on the following items: pet carriers that cost $100 or less; pet beds that cost $40 or less; bags of pet food that cost $30 or less; bags of cat litter that cost $25 or less; leashes, collars and muzzles that sell for $20 or less; packages of pet-waste disposable bags that cost $15 or less; and, cans of pet food that cost $2 or less.

Also added this year are smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and carbon-monoxide detectors that cost $70 or less.

“As with food, water, and medications, we recommend having seven days’ worth of supplies at the ready – not just for hurricanes, but all emergencies,” Lord said. “Use this sales tax holiday to buy essentials as your first step in preparedness.”

The qualifying list of items includes the following: reusable ice packs; flashlights, lanterns and candles; batteries (excluding automobile and boat); two-way and weather band radios that are powered by battery, solar or hand-crank (some qualify even if electrical cords are included); coolers and ice chests; portable power banks; tarps; ground anchor systems; tie-downs; bungee cords; ratchet straps; and, portable generators selling for less than $1,000 to be used for providing light, communications or to preserve food in the event of a power outage.

Remember to shop locally.

“Another thing we would ask residents is to do now is to take a moment to sign up for emergency notifications at www.FlaglerCounty.gov/AlertFlagler,” Lord said. “If you know someone with special medical needs, such as someone who requires electricity, refrigeration for medication, or oxygen – or someone who would require transportation assistance to evacuate – encourage them to enroll in our Special Needs Registry.”

Go to www.FlaglerCounty.gov/emergency and select “Individuals with Special Needs” to register for special needs evacuation and sheltering assistance.

“We are moving away from alphabet-named evacuation zones by next hurricane season, but now is a good time to find out if you live in one of them,” Lord said. “We will also – if necessary – be calling evacuations by neighborhood, but it is always good to be aware.”

For more information about the 2022 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday go to https://floridarevenue.com/disasterprep/Pages/default.aspx.

Follow Flagler County Government on Facebook: www.facebook.com/FlaglerCountyGovernment.

By Julie Murphy

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