Appeal Brief | Appeal Letter | Appeal Analysis | Back
Second Appeal Brief
PA ID# 095-38000-00; City of Kansas City
PW ID# 661; Debris Monitors
Citation: FEMA-1403-DR-MO; City of Kansas City, MO: PW #661, Debris Monitoring Costs
Cross-reference: Reasonable Costs; Category A
Summary: In response to the debris resulting from the winter ice storms in late January 2003, the City of Kansas City, Missouri (Applicant), contracted for debris removal services. FEMA and the State met with the Applicant to determine a reasonable cost to perform monitoring of the contractor activities. Rates obtained by six nearby Missouri counties were reviewed (average rate $14.87/hr) during the meeting, concluding that a base rate of $17 per hour would be reasonable. However, after failing to recruit and hire a sufficient number of monitors by a variety of means, the Applicant utilized an existing on-call emergency contract with Asplundh Tree Expert Company with a base rate for monitors of $34 per hour. Monitors were classified as degreed foresters and certified arborers. Neither the State nor FEMA were notified of the increased costs to perform the work until the Applicant submitted a request for reimbursement in the amount of $1.5 million, based on the hourly rate of $34. Without justification to support the increased rates, FEMA limited the hourly rate to the originally quoted $17 per hour and obligated the PW in the amount of $645,960.07.
The Applicant submitted a first appeal asserting the rates were reasonable because of the specific qualifications required of the inspectors, the fact that less costly means provided inadequate, and because the prevailing rate charged under the emergency contract was within range of other temporary inspector costs. The Regional Director denied the appeal stating that the rate of $34 per hour was excessive and unreasonable in that it exceeded comparable rates for debris monitoring performed during the disaster. The Applicants second appeal asserts that the costs are reasonable for the specific qualifications required for the inspectors and are comparable to applicants in close proximity to Kansas City.
Issues: (1) Are the costs reasonable for the monitoring services performed?
(2) Should the costs be increased based on the rates allowed in nearby Kansas counties?
Findings: (1) No. The applicant engaged skill levels (Foresters/Arborers) in excess of those necessary to perform the required tasks, such that the associated rates are not considered reasonable when applied to the debris monitoring services actually performed.
(3) No. The Applicant is comparing costs to those funded in Kansas, when the surrounding in-state communities retained monitoring staff at significantly less costs than those being requested.
Rationale: OMB Circular A-87, Reasonable costs