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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 111-58715-00; City of Port St. Lucie
PW ID# Project Worksheets 9094 and 6208; Debris Removal
August 7, 2008
Mr. W. Craig Fugate
Florida Division of Emergency Management
2555 Shumard Oak Boulevard
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2100
Re: Second Appeal – City of Port St. Lucie, PA ID 111-58715-00, Debris Removal,
FEMA-1545/1561-DR-FL, Project Worksheets (PWs) 9094 and 6208
Dear Mr. Fugate:
This letter is in response to your letter dated March 14, 2007, transmitting the referenced second appeal on behalf of the City of Port St. Lucie (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) denial of reimbursement for costs associated with removing debris from private roads throughout the City following Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne. These two appeals were handled together because they presented the same issues.
FEMA prepared PW 9094 for $300,150 to remove debris from city roads following Hurricane Frances, FEMA-1545-DR-FL, and PW 6208 for $592,020 to remove debris from city roads following Hurricane Jeanne, FEMA-1561-FL. FEMA denied funding in the amount of $892,170 to remove debris from private roads for the two PWs because FEMA determined that the Applicant did not demonstrate that it had legal responsibility for debris removal on private property and in gated communities as required by 44 CFR §206.223.
The Applicant submitted its first appeal on February 27, 2005, claiming that its solid waste collection ordinance established its legal responsibility for removing storm-generated debris from private roads. The Regional Director denied the Applicant’s first appeal by letter of October 20, 2006, stating that the Applicant did not submit sufficient documentation to support its claim that it had legal responsibility to remove storm-related debris from private roads. The Regional Director also found that the Applicant had not followed its own procedures under the city’s Code of Ordinances to gain legal responsibility for the work in question.
The Applicant submitted a second appeal on March 9, 2007. With the second appeal, the Applicant submitted a copy of the Debris Management Plan section of the City’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan and a copy of City Ordinance #06-105 (the Ordinance). The Ordinance was adopted to clarify the City’s right of entry onto private roads and into gated communities during and immediately after disasters. The Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan was adopted in June of 2006 and the cited ordinance was adopted on September 11, 2006. These authorities were adopted two years after the disasters in question and may not be used as a basis for acts taken in response to those disasters.
The Applicant reasserts that its solid waste collection ordinance provides legal responsibility for debris removal on private roads. The Applicant’s solid waste collection ordinance, at Title V, Article 1, Section 50.02 of the City of Port St. Lucie Code of Ordinances, defines the Solid Waste Assessment Area as the area within the incorporated limits of the City of St. Lucie. Section 50.03 of the Ordinance directs the mandatory collection of solid waste for residential property located within the assessment area. Section 50.13(a) of the Ordinance authorizes the City to enter into exclusive contracts for the collection of solid waste from residential and commercial property. Based on the provisions of the ordinance, the Applicant has legal responsibility for the collection and removal of residential solid waste and debris, including disaster-related debris that is placed on the curb of public or private roads.
Based on a review of all information submitted with the appeal, I have determined that the Applicant has established its legal responsibility to remove debris from private roads in gated communities. Therefore, I am granting 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: Major P. May
FEMA Region IV