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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 103-99103-00; St. Tammany Parish
PW ID# 516; Debris Removal Costs
March 29, 2010
Disaster Recovery Division
Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and
7667 Independence Boulevard
Baton Rouge, LA 70806
Re: Second Appeal–St. Tammany Parish, FEMA-1603-DR-LA, PA ID 103-99103-00,
Debris Removal Costs, Project Worksheet (PW) 516
Dear Mr. DeBosier:
This letter is in response to a letter from your office dated July 2, 2009, which transmitted the referenced second appeal on behalf of St. Tammany Parish (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) denial of $486,853 for removing debris from State highways and roads in incorporated municipalities in the Parish.
On August 25, 2005, hurricane force winds and heavy rainfall from Hurricane Katrina caused damage within St. Tammany Parish depositing debris on Parish roads. Following the storm, the Applicant entered into a contract to remove debris from Parish roads. The contractor also collected storm debris from State highways and roads in incorporated municipalities of the Parish. On October 26, 2005, FEMA prepared Project Worksheet (PW) 516 for $87,894,464 to remove debris from roads located in the unincorporated areas of the Parish. FEMA did not fund debris removal from roads in the incorporated municipalities or State highways under PW 516. FEMA determined that the Applicant was not eligible for funding to remove debris from those locations.
FEMA prepared two versions to PW 516 on February 2, 2006 and January 25, 2007, providing an additional $30,609,965 for eligible contract costs for debris removal. On
January 25, 2008, the Applicant submitted a Request for PW Revision for an additional $486,853. FEMA denied the Applicant’s request for a version to PW 516, stating that the debris in question was located on state highways and roads in incorporated areas and was the legal responsibility of other entities.
The Applicant submitted its first appeal on August 8, 2008. The Applicant argued that while it is not obligated to pay the costs to its contractors, FEMA should reimburse the Applicant because the amount of debris is not significant compared to the volume of the eligible debris removal on the contract. The Applicant also argued that many state highways, townships, and municipalities have irregular borders; therefore, it was difficult for the contractor to ensure that it was removing debris from locations only within the Parish. The Applicant also stated that the cost for its contractor to remove the debris was more cost effective than the published estimates for the United States Corps of Engineers to complete the same work. In addition, the Applicant stated that the Map Book used by FEMA did not include an accurate listing of Parish maintained roads at the time of the disaster. In a letter dated February 25, 2009, the Acting Regional Administrator upheld FEMA’s original determination and denied the first appeal.
On May 5, 2009, the Applicant submitted its second appeal, restating its arguments from the first appeal. The Applicant did not provide any additional information to support that it had legal responsibility for debris removal from roads in the incorporated areas and State highways in the Parish. The Applicant’s arguments imply that because the disputed loads are insignificant compared to the total work completed, FEMA should deviate from its eligibility requirements, which require eligible work to be the legal responsibility of an eligible applicant at the time of the disaster. Additionally, the Applicant contends that contractors did not know the jurisdiction and therefore inadvertently picked up debris from the roads where other entities had legal responsibility.
FEMA regulation at 44 CFR § 206.223(a)(3), General work eligibility, requires that in order for work to be considered eligible, “it must be the legal responsibility of an eligible applicant.” In this case, the Applicant did not have legal responsibility to remove debris from the state highways and roads in incorporated areas of the Parish.
Based on the review of all information submitted with the appeal, I have determined that the Applicant did not have legal responsibility to remove debris from roads in the incorporated areas of the Parish or from state highways. Therefore, I deny the Applicant’s second appeal.
Please inform the Applicant of my decision. This determination is the final decision on this matter pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206, Appeals.
Elizabeth A. Zimmerman
Disaster Assistance Directorate
cc: Tony Russell
FEMA Region VI
LA Transitional Recovery Office