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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Miami-Dade County’s fight against the spread of the Zika virus is costing the county more than expected – prompting the mayor to reach out to those in Tallahassee.

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Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez sent a letter to Governor Rick Scott asking the state to reimburse the county for funds spent on mosquito control.

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In his letter – dated August 11th – the mayor asks for the funds to be made available immediately.

Mayor Gimenez says, to date, the county is asking for $6 million to be reimbursed. It was money spent in aerial spraying, ground spraying, distribution of insect repellents,and outreach and education efforts. They’re activities he says are consistent with the recommendations from the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

The mayor says the local spread of the virus goes beyond the money already spent to fight the virus.

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“In addition to absorbing costs in excess of what was anticipated in our budget for mosquitos control, should the publicity surrounding the Zika outbreak lead to a reduction in the number of tourists anticipated to visit Miami-Dade County, we could see reduced revenues not just for tourism-related taxes, which support our arts and culture programming as well as contributing significantly toward supporting our parks; our food and beverage taxes, which support services for the homeless and victims of domestic violence; and sales tax and locally imposed surtaxes, which support public health, transportation, and all services subsidized by our general fund.”

Mayor Gimenez also urged the governor to consider an economic recovery package for businesses in the area of Wynwood – considered ground zero for Zika transmission locally. The recovery package would only apply to businesses affected by being in the Zika zone.


Governor Scott’s press secretary Lauren Schenone released the following statement in response to Mayor Gimenez’ letter.

“When the first case of travel-related Zika was identified in our state in February, Governor Scott declared a public health emergency to ensure all counties – including Miami -Dade – had every tool they needed to fight Zika. Governor Scott has also stayed in constant communication with Mayor Gimenez to ensure Miami-Dade County has all of the resources they need. The Florida Department of Health (DOH) has been fulfilling requests for the county since June and DOH will continue to review and fulfill any necessary requests they need to continue fighting Zika. In addition, the DOH has coordinated mosquito control experts from around the state to provide guidance to Miami-Dade County on best practices for mosquito control. Governor Scott has authorized over $26 million in state funds to combat Zika, and has already allocated over $18 million to communities across the state to ensure the health and safety of our residents and visitors.”

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