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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 361-09B00-00; Orange County Emergency Services District #1
PW ID# Project Worksheets 306, 3461, 3695; Denial of Funding
July 29, 2008
Alternate State Coordinating Officer
Division of Emergency Management
5425 Polk Street, Mail Slot O
Houston, TX 77023
Re: Second Appeal Orange County Emergency Services District #1, PA ID 361-09B00-00, Denial of Funding
, FEMA-1606-DR-TX, Project Worksheets (PWs) 306, 3461 and 3695
Dear Mr. Anders:
This letter is in response to the referenced second appeal forwarded by your office on January 3, 2008. The Orange County Emergency Services District #1 (Applicant) is appealing the Department of Homeland Securitys Federal Emergency Management Agencys (FEMA) denial of its first appeal dated August 15, 2007. The Applicant requests that FEMA obligate PWs 306, 3461 and 3695 for a total of $199,668.
As a result of damages caused by Hurricane Rita, FEMA prepared PW 3461 to replace the Applicants fire station and contents. The original estimate of eligible costs was $442,327, but was reduced to $250 based on insurance proceeds. The Applicant requested an improved project to construct a larger fire station and intended to move the fire station out of the floodplain and away from railroad tracks. The scope of work for PW 306 was to replace the fire station communications tower, communications equipment, antennas, and a flagpole, and included a hazard mitigation proposal for a total estimated cost of $168,391. These items would be located at the site of the new fire station. PW 3695 was prepared for $31,027 to replace a 75-foot hose tower. However, the Applicant did not intend to replace the tower and instead requested an alternate project to construct a base for the communication tower at the replacement fire station.
On May 29, 2007, the State informed FEMA that the Applicant had begun clearing the site of the replacement facility. Subsequently, FEMA determined the total estimated cost for these PWs, $199,668, was not eligible for reimbursement because the Applicant began site work prior to the completion of FEMAs environmental assessment. In accordance with 44 CFR Part 10, an environmental assessment is required in order to comply with Section 102 of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA).
The Applicant submitted its first appeal on August, 15, 2007. It presented a timeline of events prior to May 2007 and stated that it was being penalized for FEMAs bureaucratic mistakes.
FEMA denied the appeal on September 19, 2007, stating the Applicant was aware that it would jeopardize FEMA funding if site preparation or construction occurred prior to the completion of the environmental assessment, which had begun in March 2007. The Applicant submitted its second appeal on November 8, 2007. It reiterated its position from the first appeal.
Based on the information submitted with both appeals and that contained in the PW files, it is possible to extract costs related to the replacement of communications equipment and antennas from those related to ground-disturbing activities which include the replacement of the fire station, communications tower, flagpole, and the construction of a base for the communications tower. The communications equipment and antennas have an independent utility that is not connected to the replacement of the facility. Therefore, I am partially granting this appeal for $135,296, which is the estimate to replace communications equipment and antennas and is listed as a line-item in the cost estimate section of PW 306. By copy of this letter, I request the Regional Administrator to 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: Jim Stark
Louisiana Transitional Recovery Office