Rep. Lois Frankel says Delray should be concerned sequester will kibash beach money

City leaders remain confident

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - That's almost enough to fill the Empire State building.

While the county and state kicked in around $4 million, the cash-strapped city last Fall agreed to borrow $5 million, under the assumption that the Federal government would pay them back.

The beach is South Florida's life force. And it's slowly slipping away.

Beach erosion never stops.

"The cliff that formed here. All of the sand used to be pretty much flat," said Carol Donahue, who splits her time between South Florida and New York.

In October, Hurricane Sandy made the erosion even worse, forcing the city's hand to take up a $9 million renourishment project.

"There's no Delray Beach without a beach," said city commissioner Adam Frankel.

The city started laying down the first 2,500 cubic yards of new sand today, with 1.1 million more cubic yards scheduled for March.

That's almost enough to fill the Empire State building.

While the county and state kicked in around $4 million, the cash-strapped city last Fall agreed to borrow $5 million, under the assumption that the Federal government would pay them back.

"Every time the beach here has been renourished, the city has always been reimbursed," said Frankel.

But Washington has seldom been so grid locked, and the looming threat of budget cuts - this time it's the automatic sequester - could force the Army Corps of Engineers to slash it's budget.

If the sequester is allowed to happen, Rep. Lois Frankel says Delray Beach's beach money is in jeopardy.

"I can just guarantee them that I'm going to fight hard to make sure the Congress lives up to its responsibility," said Frankel. "I can only guarantee I'm going to fight hard, " she added.

The realities of governing and of government are hitting the shore almost as hard as Sandy did.

If the Federal government can't come through, city taxpayers would be on the hook to pay back more than $500,000 a year, each of the next ten years.

"I'm confident with our state contacts, our Federal contacts, we'll be OK locally here in Delray Beach," said Frankel.

Delray Beach is also planning another $9 million renourishment project.

Frankel says they should make sure they get repaid for the first project before they start on the second one.

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