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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 000-92041; U.S. Virgin Island Housing Authority
DSR ID# 83506; Time Extension
September 17, 2003
Mr. Ira R. Mills
Governors Authorized Representative
Office of Management and Budget
#4 Norre Gade
Emancipation Garden Station, 2nd Floor
St. Thomas, VI 00802
Re: Second Appeal U.S. Virgin Island Housing Authority, PA ID 000-92041,
Time Extension, FEMA-1067-DR-VI, Disaster Survey Report (DSR) 83506
Dear Mr. Mills:
This is in response to your letter of June 6, 2003, transmitting the referenced appeal on behalf of the U.S. Virgin Island Housing Authority (VIHA). The VIHA is requesting approval of project time extensions and the reobligation of $50,595 in funding for DSR 83506 related to repair work on the Michael J. Kirwan Terrace Housing Communities (Kirwan Terrace). The third request for a time extension was submitted by VIHA to FEMA in a letter dated March 26, 2001, two years after the project completion deadline of September 30, 1998.
Hurricane Marilyn struck the U.S. Virgin Islands in September 1995, causing extensive damage. VIHA initially projected that FEMA repairs, combined with the Department of Housing and Urban Development rehabilitation work to its housing communities, would be completed by
December 31, 1995. Two time extensions were subsequently granted, extending the project completion date to September 30, 1998. However, work on Kirwan Terrace did not begin until November 1998. After completing 100% of the repair work on six of the eight projects on
April 25, 2000, VIHA submitted a request on March 26, 2001, for final time extensions of August 23, 2000, and December 31, 2001, for different parts of the project. The Governors Authorized Representative (GAR) transmitted the requests on July 25, 2001. FEMA denied the request for time extension in a letter dated November 21, 2001, citing that it is impossible to approve a time extension more than two years after its expiration. In a letter dated June 11, 2002, FEMA informed VIHA that DSR 83506 would deobligate $78,749 for work at the Kirwan Terrace Housing Communities.
In letters dated July 27, and September 3, 2002, VIHA appealed the time extension denial and deobligation of $50,595 for DSRs 77134, 77169, 77171, 77172, 77174, and 57526. The VIHA elected not to appeal the denial of the time extension and deobligation of funds for DSRs 77163 and 77164, totaling $28,154, because the extent of damage to the buildings and the lack of matching funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) prevented them from starting work. Multiple reasons were cited regarding delays for those projects being appealed including:
· six hurricanes impacted the U.S. Virgin Islands after Hurricane Marilyn, hampering the ability to manage and expedite work over three islands;
· coordinating funding from FEMA and HUD across multiple disasters has been difficult;
· problems relocating residents prior to being able to issue a Noticed to Proceed;
· lateness in receiving project materials; and
· need to revise scope of work because of the adoption of more stringent building codes.
On October 10, 2002, the GAR transmitted VIHAs first appeal. The GAR and VIHA indicated that the loss of funding would hinder completion of a vital project that provides low-income residents with safe and sanitary housing and would create a financial hardship for the Virgin Islands. Without reimbursement from FEMA, the Housing Authoritys funding would not be available for ongoing housing projects in other areas. On November 25, 2002, FEMA denied VIHAs first appeal, stating, All funds will remain deobligated since all related projects began on or after November 1998, two months after the expiration of the final approved time extension. FEMA also addressed the GAR regarding delays in the transmittal of correspondence between FEMA and applicants, citing 44 CFR §206.206 (c), the regulatory timeframes for appeals.
VIHA submitted a second appeal dated March 21, 2003. No additional documentation was provided with the second appeal. Citing 44 CFR §206.204 (c), VIHA stated that while the request for time extensions was late, there were many legitimate reasons why the project could not proceed, and that more than $35 million in Federal and Territorial funding had been expended in order to repair damage from Hurricane Marilyn. It should mean something that VIHA has expended its own capital funds and taken out a $12 million dollar loan for hurricane repairs over the past seven years. It shows integrity and willingness to make a concerted effort to complete the job we started, no matter what the consequences. The GAR transmitted the second appeal to FEMA on June 6, 2003.
When justified by extenuating circumstances, FEMA may approve time extensions beyond the authority granted to the Grantee in 44 CFR §206.204 (d). The extensive damages caused by Hurricane Marilyn and subsequent disasters in the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as financial requirements by the Territory government to have matching funding in place prior to starting construction, contributed to delays in project completion. These unique circumstances, and the fact that the projects were completed prior to the first appeal and closeout of the disaster, constitute sufficient justification for granting a time extension. Therefore, I am approving the appeal for the time extension of August 23, 2000. By copy of this letter, I am requesting the Regional Director to obligate $50,595 for the completed projects.
Please inform the applicant of my decision. My determination constitutes the final decision on this matter pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206.
Laurence W. Zensinger
Acting Director, Recovery Division
Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate
Department of Homeland Security
cc: Joseph Picciano
Acting Regional Director