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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 760-67000-00; City of Richmond
PW ID# Project Worksheets 1998 and 2296; Debris Removal
March 14, 2008
Michael M. Cline
Governors Authorized Representative
Virginia Department of Emergency Management
830 Southlake Boulevard, Suite A
Richmond, VA 23236
Re: Second AppealCity of Richmond, PA ID 760-67000-00, Debris Removal
FEMA-1491-DR-VA, Project Worksheets (PW) 2296 and 1998
Dear Mr. Cline:
This letter is in response to letter from your office dated October 5, 2007, transmitting the referenced second appeal on behalf of the City of Richmond (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Securitys Federal Emergency Management Agencys (FEMA) denial of reimbursement for costs associated with the removal of hazardous tree stumps following Hurricane Isabel in September 2003.
Heavy rains and high winds from Hurricane Isabel deposited debris on public and private property including downed trees and limbs posing threats to the health and safety of the citizens of the City of Richmond. FEMA prepared 26 PWs for a total of $7,035,939.40 to fund eligible debris removal work. Specifically, PWs 1998 and 2296 included funding for the removal of eligible hazardous stumps. FEMA denied $71,713.50 in funding associated with PW 1998 for contract costs determined to be unreasonable and unit costs associated with removal of stumps less than 24 inches in diameter. FEMA also denied $53,385 in funding for unreasonable contract costs associated with PW 2296. The Applicant is appealing a total of $125,098.50 for costs associated with PWs 1998 and 2296.
The Applicant submitted its first appeal in a letter dated February 10, 2006. The first appeal addressed reductions in funding related to reasonable costs for contract work for stump removal and work associated with time and materials contracts and debris removal from private property. FEMA Region III determined that the Applicant had not conducted a price analysis as required by 44 CFR § 13.36(f), and FEMAs price analysis concluded that the contract charges were not reasonable. The Applicants contract also did not distinguish between stump sizes for unit costs for stump removal. FEMA Region III determined that this was not consistent with FEMAs historical practice and policy which paid for removal of stumps measuring less than 24 inches on a cubic yard basis. FEMA Region III also determined that the time and materials contracts and private property debris removal work were not associated with eligible scopes of work. For these reasons, FEMA Region III denied the appeal on December 22, 2006.
After this first appeal determination, FEMA Region III reviewed other first appeals from the Applicant and other jurisdictions for FEMA-1491-DR-VA addressing stump removal and reasonable costs. As a result of this review, FEMA determined that the Applicant had acted in a prudent manner during the contract process and determined that the actual contract costs for removal of stumps over 24 inches were reasonable. FEMA subsequently reimbursed the actual contract costs for the removal of stumps over 24 inches on a unit cost basis for other PWs, but did not reimburse these same costs associated with PWs 1998 and 2296. FEMA Region III is now recommending that these costs be reimbursed as they are considered reasonable.
The Applicant submitted its second appeal in a letter dated July 31, 2007. The Applicants second appeal does not address the time and materials contract costs or the private property debris removal work included in the first appeal. Based on FEMA Region IIIs determination that the Applicants contract unit costs for removal of stumps over 24 inches are reasonable and eligible for other PWs, these costs are eligible for reimbursement on a unit cost basis for PWs 1998 and 2296. This portion of the appeal accounts for an eligible reimbursement of $38,410 for PW 1998 and $53,385 for PW 2296.
FEMAs historical practice and policy is to reimburse stumps measuring 24 inches and less on a cubic yard basis. Stumps measuring 24 inches in diameter or less do not require special equipment for removal and therefore are reimbursed on the reasonable cost per cubic yard, using stump conversion factors. The stump conversion factors used by FEMA Region III are applicable and provide a reasonable estimate of the volume of debris from a given tree stump. Accordingly, the portion of the appeal requesting reimbursement for removal of stumps less than 24 inches on a unit cost basis is denied. This appeal is denying a total of $33,303.50 in costs associated with PW 1998.
Based on a review of all information submitted with the appeal, I am partially approving this appeal. By copy of this letter, I request that the Regional Administrator take appropriate action to implement this determination.
Please inform the Applicant of my decision. My determination constitutes the final decision on this matter as set forth in 44 CFR § 206.206.
Carlos J. Castillo
Disaster Assistance Directorate
cc: Jonathan Sarubbi
FEMA Region III