The county hopes to hear by Friday whether or not there will be an extension of today’s deadline for placing storm debris roadside.

The Florida Department of Emergency Management is seeking a 90-day extension of that deadline and county officials are confident they will know by Friday if the extension will be granted.

“We think by the end of the week we will have an answer,” said Assistant County Administrator Warren Yeager.

Helping Gulf County’s case, he added, is the need for an extension in Bay, Jackson and other counties.

“We are all pushing for it,” Yeager said. “It is important not just for us, but all the other counties.”

The deadline was unanimously approved earlier this month by the Board of County Commissioners, faced with the Florida Department of Transportation’s request that the deadline be Jan. 20.

Under an October 2018 executive order, the FDOT is footing the bill for debris pick-up in several rural counties; in Gulf County alone the bill is expected to come in between $50 million and $100 million.

At the time of setting the deadline, with county officials facing protests from the many property owners still dealing with insurance companies, county staff expressed pessimism of any extension.

But after discussions with state elected officials and agency heads over the past week or so, the pessimism turned to guarded optimism.

The Jan. 31 deadline is for placing storm debris roadside only.

State and federal contractors will continue the pick-up debris into March, pending any additional extensions.