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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 067-91053; Reclamation District #551
DSR ID# 79247; Pierson District
August 3, 1999
Mr. D.A. Christian
Governor's Authorized Representative
Governor's Office of Emergency Services
Post Office Box 419023
Rancho Cordova, California 95741
Dear Mr. Christian:
This is in response to the referenced December 9, 1998, second appeal submitted by Murray, Burns and Kienlen, Consulting Civil Engineers, on behalf of Reclamation District #551. The appeal was forwarded under cover of your January 28, 1999, letter. The District is appealing the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) denial of its request for reimbursement of excess electric power costs of $18,383 it claimed to have incurred in pumping storm water from the Pierson District during the early-1997 winter storms. The applicant took issue with FEMA's comment in the first appeal response that the District performed its normal practice of pumping to prevent flooding, asserting that the continual pumping was only necessary because of the disaster.
The applicant asserted that, whereas it ran four of its pumps under normal conditions, it was forced to run all five pumps during the unusual conditions to keep the "island" from flooding. The Reclamation District was established in an area that contained lands whose elevation was significantly below sea level. Because it flooded easily, the area consisted of a system of flood control levees and it was normal to operate drainage pumps in order to remove excess water. The pumping operation varied in intensity from year to year. Your letter indicated that a portion of Russell Road, a mid-district access road, was inundated for more than two weeks and that the town of Courtland was in danger of flooding had the pumps not been operated continually. Because of the improved property that was at risk, I have determined that excess pumping costs are eligible.
FEMA's policy regarding assistance for excess pumping costs in a disaster defines these costs as eligible if they exceed the three-year average of pumping costs. The District based its claim on a five-year average that included costs for the years 1991 through 1994 and 1996 but specifically excluded costs incurred in 1995 because that was a flood year. For purposes of determining the average, flood years should not be excluded from the calculation. The most recent three-year average was determined from actual figures for the years 1994, 1995 and 1996 to be $24,555. The $35,223 pumping cost for the year 1997 exceeds this three-year average by $10,668. Therefore, $10,668 is the amount of eligible costs for this project.
Accordingly, I have determined that a Damage Survey Report should be written for the excess pumping costs of $10,668 because of the disaster. By copy of this letter, I am requesting the Regional Director to implement my determination.
Please inform the Subgrantee of my determination that the appeal is partially granted. In accordance with the appeal procedure governing appeal decisions made on or after May 8, 1998, my decision constitutes the final decision on this matter. The current appeal procedure was published as a final rule in the Federal Register on April 8, 1998. It amends 44 CFR 206.206.
Lacy E. Suiter
Executive Associate Director
Response and Recovery Directorate
cc: Martha Z. Whetstone
FEMA Region IX