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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 109-55000-00; City of Oklahoma City
PW ID# 1058; Debris Removal
January 11, 2010
Deputy State Coordinating Officer
Department of Emergency Management
2401 N. Lincoln
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
Re: Second Appeal–City of Oklahoma City, PA ID 109-55000-00, Debris Removal,
FEMA-1735-DR-OK, Project Worksheet (PW) 1058 (1)
Dear Ms. Shingledecker:
This letter is in response to your letter dated January 14, 2009, which transmitted the referenced second appeal on behalf of the City of Oklahoma City (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) denial of $485,514 for debris removal from its drainage channels.
Large quantities of vegetative debris, including hanging limbs and leaning trees, were deposited in the Applicant’s drainage channels following an ice storm from December 8, 2007, through January 3, 2008. The Applicant competitively bid a contract with Young General Contracting Services (Contractor) to remove storm-generated debris from its drainage channels. The Contractor began removing debris on February 26, 2008. The Applicant halted the Contractor’s work on March 17, 2008, after a FEMA project officer raised concerns that the Contractor was removing ineligible debris. The Applicant met with FEMA’s project officer and representatives from the State and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on March 19, 2008. Participants of the meeting agreed to mark remaining eligible debris with spray paint. The Contractor resumed its operation on March 19, 2008, and completed work by April 5, 2008. The Applicant requested funding from FEMA for removal of 4,047 tons of debris. FEMA prepared PW 1058 on May 5, 2008, for $169,822 for the removal and disposal of 609 tons of vegetative debris. FEMA based the amount of debris on the project officer’s validation that only 29 percent of the debris the Applicant claimed on 344 of 648 load tickets was eligible for reimbursement.
The Applicant submitted a first appeal on June 3, 2008, challenging the methodology and data FEMA used to prepare the project worksheet. According to the Applicant, the project officer’s spreadsheet misstated the start date of the debris removal operations and included 30 locations that were not included under its drainage debris removal contract. The Applicant also noted that it had removed any claims associated with the Contractor clear cutting trees. The Applicant stated that the Contractor removed 4,047 tons of eligible debris. The Regional Administrator determined that it was unreasonable to assume that the remainder of the debris was 100 percent eligible when the project officer was only able to validate 29 percent of the sampled load tickets. Therefore, it was estimated that 29 percent of the 4,047 tons of debris removed, or 1,174 tons, was eligible for Public Assistance funding. The Regional Administrator determined that an additional 197.66 tons of debris were eligible and partially approved the Applicant’s appeal on September 11, 2008, for $35,503.
The Applicant submitted its second appeal on November 18, 2008, and maintained that 4,047 tons of debris were eligible. The Applicant stated that debris removal operations on its drainage channels began on February 26, 2008. As such, 30 of the locations listed from January 17, 2008, through February 26, 2008, should not have been included in the project officer’s sample. The Applicant also stated that it did not seek any reimbursement for sites where the Contractor clear cut trees. However, the FEMA project officer included these sites in his validation sample. The Applicant also provided documentation verifying the location and regular maintenance of 15 sites that the project officer declared as ineligible either due to a “non viable address” or lack of maintenance. The Applicant reiterated that after meeting with FEMA on March 19, 2008, the Contractor only removed debris that FEMA and USACE clearly marked with spray paint. The Applicant included signed affidavits from several staff members and its Contractor attesting to the agreement by all that this debris would be eligible.
I have reviewed the information submitted with the appeal and determined that the Applicant has substantiated that 4,047 tons of storm-generated debris are eligible for reimbursement. The project officer’s sample included dates and sites that are not part of the Applicant’s contract and does not account for the eligible debris the Contractor removed after March 19, 2008. I have determined that the Applicant is seeking reimbursement for the removal of eligible debris. Accordingly, I am approving the second appeal for $485,514.
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: Gary Jones
Acting Regional Administrator
FEMA Region VI