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Second Appeal Brief
PA ID# 049-57430-00; City of Raymond
PW ID# 730 and 791; VFW Hall #968
Citation: FEMA 1361-DR-WA; City of Raymond; Project Worksheets 730 and 791
Cross-reference: Duplication of Benefits
Summary: The City of Raymond received a Federal Disaster Declaration in which the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Hall sustained extensive structural damage from the Nisqually Earthquake. Although the VFW was not an eligible private non-profit applicant, the City had legal responsibility and was therefore an eligible applicant under 44 CFR 206.222 (a)(3). The City demolished the VFW Hall in July 2001, and as required by its building code, placed a lien on the VFW property to recover the costs of abatement. The lien and the requirement to reimburse the State and FEMA when the demolition costs were recovered was also recorded as part of the grant in order to note that the lien was in conformance with local codes and to avoid a duplication of benefits. On August 26, 2002, the City informed the State that it had rescinded the lien from the VFW property because it believed it did not follow public notification procedures and was therefore legally liable. FEMA notified the State it would deobligate funding because the City had violated the terms and conditions outlined in the grant, and because it failed to receive prior approval to change the terms and conditions of the grant. The City subsequently appealed, claiming that FEMA was informed about the removal of the lien, and also claimed that demolition of the VFW Hall was eligible for FEMA funding under Section 403, Essential Assistance, of the Stafford Act and that that Stafford Act did not address the recovery of funds through liens. FEMA denied the appeal because once the City rescinded the lien, which was a legal requirement of the local building code, it changed the nature of the work performed. What was the legal responsibility of the City now became a gift to the VFW. The Citys second appeal presented the same argument. Based on a meeting held on October 23, 2003, to discuss the Citys concerns, the State on October 24, 2003, requested a 60-day hold on the appeal, while the City developed a new proposal to address the issues of concern. FEMA granted the hold on the appeal. The State then notified FEMA that the City had reinstated the lien on the VFW property and followed up with a letter dated January 14, 2003, and a copy of the Citys recorded lien.
Issues: Did the City comply with provisions of its Dangerous Building Code?
Rationale: 44 CFR § 206.223 (a)(3), and Section 403 of the Stafford Act