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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 147-99147-00; Steele County
PW ID# 675; Temporary Relocation
September 13, 2012
Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
444 Cedar Street, Suite 223
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101-6555
Re: Second Appeal–Steele County, PA ID 147-99147-00, Temporary Relocation, FEMA-1941-DR-MN, Project Worksheet (PW) 675
Dear Ms. Eide:
This letter is in response to a letter from your office dated April 23, 2012, which transmitted the referenced second appeal on behalf of Steele County (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) denial of funding for the temporary relocation of the Highway Operations Complex (HOC) storage building.
The HOC wood frame storage building was damaged as a result of the floodwaters resulting from severe storms from September 22 to October 13, 2010. It is one of five buildings located at the complex. The building is a wooden post and beam structure with metal sheet siding and metal roof with a partial concrete floor with the remainder of the floor being dirt. The building was used for equipment and materials storage. Following the disaster, the Applicant relocated the functions of all five buildings within the HOC to a temporary facility approximately two miles away. FEMA prepared PW 947 for the repair of the storage building with a scope of work, provided by the Applicant’s engineering and architectural team, to chemically treat and power wash the wall/wood framing and floor and replace an exterior door. FEMA also prepared PW 675 for the temporary relocation of the storage building for zero dollars because the building was not damaged to an extent requiring relocation and it was an ancillary facility.
The Applicant submitted its first appeal on May 9, 2011, asserting that the storage building was not an ancillary facility and therefore temporary relocation assistance was eligible. The Applicant also maintained that the HOC was an integrated complex and requested that the projects be formulated as such. The Applicant entered into one lease agreement for a single temporary facility to house all of the HOC operations. Consequently, all temporary relocation expenses associated with the HOC should be eligible for reimbursement. In the first appeal response dated December 12, 2011, FEMA’s Regional Administrator concurred that the building was not ancillary as it contained materials and equipment necessary for the County to continue providing essential/critical community services. However, the building was not damaged significantly enough to meet the requirements for temporary relocation funding in Response and Recovery Policy 9523.3, Provision of Temporary Relocation Facilities, dated July 16, 1998. Specifically the building could still be safely occupied and at the time of FEMA’s inspection, January 13, 2011, was still in use.
The Applicant submitted its second appeal on April 12, 2012, maintaining that the HOC was one facility and that temporary relocation costs for all five buildings within the complex were eligible for reimbursement. The Applicant asserted that the effective and efficient operation of the HOC required all assets, including those stored in the wood frame storage building, be in close proximity to administration functions. Furthermore, the Applicant claimed that relocation of the storage building should be eligible because it lacked critical utilities, such as potable water. The State does not support the Applicant’s second appeal.
The approved scope of work for the restoration of the HOC storage building to pre-disaster condition was to clean and chemically treat the walls and floor of the building and replace an exterior door. The entire scope of work could be accomplished without suspending facility operations or relocating the facility. In accordance with Response and Recovery Policy 9523.3, Provision of Temporary Relocation Facilities, dated October 16, 1998, temporary facilities are not eligible for reimbursement if disaster damage can be easily repaired and the function of the facility can be quickly restored. The policy also states that temporary facilities may be eligible if there is disruption of a critical utility (such as potable water, electricity, or road access) and relocation is necessary to restore services to the community more quickly than awaiting restoration of the utility. At the time of the disaster, the only utility at the storage building was electricity and there was no disruption of service caused by the disaster. The Applicant has not demonstrated that the storage building was significantly damaged enough to warrant relocation or that there was any disruption of critical utilities to the facility.
I have reviewed the information submitted with the appeal and have determined that the Regional Administrator’s decision in the first appeal is consistent with Public Assistance 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 pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206 Appeals.
cc: Andrew Velasquez III
FEMA Region V