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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 057-99057-00; Hillsborough County
PW ID# 2390, 2395, 2397; Debris Removal
June 25, 2010
Florida Division of Emergency Management
2555 Shumard Oak Blvd
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2100
Re: Second Appeal–Hillsborough County, Debris Removal, FEMA-1561-DR-FL, Project Worksheets (PW) 2390, 2395, 2397
Dear Mr. Halstead:
This is in response to a letter from your office dated July 21, 2008, that transmitted the referenced second appeal for Hillsborough County (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) decision to deny additional funding for debris removal operations. The amount in dispute is $2,111,190.
Hurricane Jeanne in 2004 damaged trees and facilities in Hillsborough County, Florida. The Applicant requested assistance from FEMA for debris removal and disposal across Hillsborough County. In July 2005, FEMA approved PW 2390 for $3,123,188 and in August 2005 approved PW 2395 for $1,547,411 and 2397 for $4,262,077. In May 2006, FEMA approved an additional $390,034 for PW 2395 and $24,484 for PW 2396. In June 2006, FEMA approved an additional $1,075,477 for PW 2390. FEMA approved a total of $10,422,669 for debris removal operations in Hillsboro County. FEMA denied the Applicant’s request for an additional $1,170,986 related to debris removal from private roads and discrepancies in the volume of debris claimed on some load tickets and for hand-loaded vehicles.
The Applicant submitted its first appeal March 29, 2007 contesting funding deductions for debris removal from private property and load reductions based on FEMA tower monitors’ inspection of trucks and hand-loaded trucks. The Applicant requested reimbursement of $1,170,986 - PW 2390 ($511,723), PW 2395 ($287,536), and PW 2397 ($371,727). In a letter dated February 27, 2008, the Regional Administrator approved $229,257 for the removal of debris from private property because the debris was a threat to public health and safety. The Regional Administrator denied the request for $941,728 related to reduced load capacity associated with hand- loaded vehicles and tower monitors’ inspection of trucks because the previous FEMA determinations were in accordance with FEMA 325, Debris Management Guide, FEMA 9580.1, Debris Operations Job Aid, and FEMA’s Disaster Specific Guidance (DSG) 14, Debris Load Rating of Hand Loaded Trucks and Trailers. The Applicant did not provide evidence to refute FEMA’s tower observations or the DSG-14 study.
The Applicant submitted a second appeal in three letters dated May 20, 2008. The Regional Administrator requested additional information, and the Applicant submitted a letter of clarification on June 26, 2009. The second appeal is for a total of $2,111,190 for all PWs, including $941,728 disallowed in the first appeal and $1,169,462 for additional debris quantities, ticket discrepancies, and truck capacity issues that were not claimed in the original PWs or first appeal. There are three issues in this second appeal: volume reductions by tower monitors, volume reductions for hand-loaded vehicles, and additional debris quantities.
FEMA is authorized to reimburse applicants for the amount of eligible work they actually performed. FEMA debris monitors visually inspected the volume of debris of each truck for which the Applicant requested reimbursement and found that in some cases the actual amount of debris in the trucks was less that the amount the Applicant claimed. FEMA reduced the Applicant’s claim accordingly. These volume reductions were consistent with FEMA 325, Debris Management Guide, and FEMA 9580.1, Debris Operations Job Aid. The Applicant claims that it was unaware of FEMA’s truck volumes and subsequent deductions, but this was the basis of funding for the original PWs. FEMA project officers included spreadsheets of all the load tickets for each PW with an itemized list of their reductions for individual trucks not filled to capacity. The Applicant did not provide sufficient evidence to refute this claim.
FEMA published DSG-14, Debris Load Rating of Hand-Loaded Trucks and Trailers to provide guidance to FEMA, State and local staffs on how FEMA will evaluate the eligibility of hand-loaded vehicles. DSG-14 states that FEMA will reimburse for 50 percent of the observed volume of hand-loaded vehicles because of the low compaction rate. The Applicant conducted a study of the weight of hand-loaded versus mechanically-loaded trucks and concluded that the weights were similar. This study is not relevant to this appeal because FEMA reimbursed the Applicant on a cubic yard basis.
The Applicant requested $1,169,462 for an additional volume of debris above the amount requested in the first appeal. Title 44 CFR 206.206, Appeals states that an applicant can appeal any FEMA determination within 90 days of notification of the determination. FEMA approved funding for debris removal operations in 2006. The Applicant did not request funding for the additional debris in the first appeal. Therefore, the request for additional funding does not meet the requirement of 44 CFR 206.206.
I have reviewed all information the Applicant submitted with the appeal and determined that the Regional Administrator’s decision in the first appeal is consistent with program regulations and policy. Accordingly, I am denying the second appeal.
Please inform the Applicant of my decision. This determination constitutes the final decision on this matter as set forth in 44 CFR §206.206, Appeals.
Elizabeth A. Zimmerman
cc: Major P. May
FEMA Region IV