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Second Appeal Summary
PA ID# 067-91053; Reclamation District #551
DSR ID# 79247; Pierson District
Citation: FEMA-1155-DR-CA; PA ID 067-91053; DSR 79247.
Cross Reference: Winter storm and flooding; excess pumping costs; emergency measures.
Summary: The New Year 1997 winter storms resulted in the District having to run its pumps continually over a period of time to keep the Pierson District from flooding. The Pierson District encompassed an area whose altitude was below sea level and, therefore, flooded easily. It was necessary to perform varying amount of drainage pumping every year to keep flood waters from accumulating in the area. In the aftermath of the disaster, the applicant demonstrated that it was necessary to run the pumps to protect improved property. A portion of Russell Road was inundated for more than two weeks and the Town of Courtland was in danger of flooding had the pumps not been operated continually. The Reclamation District applied for disaster assistance showing a calculation that averaged the costs of electricity (to operate the pumps) for the years 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, and 1996 to be $16,840, $18,383 lower than the 1997 cost of $35,223. The subgrantee excluded the cost incurred in 1995 because that was a flood year. Based on the fact that the five-year average was less than the 1997 pumping costs, the District claimed that it should be reimbursed $18,383 in excess costs.
Issue: Are excess electric power costs incurred in pumping storm water eligible as an emergency protective measure?
Findings: FEMA's policy is that in disaster situations, emergency power costs are eligible only as they exceed the most recent three-year average. For purposes of determining the average, flood years should not be excluded from the calculation. The calculated three-year average is $24,555 for the years 1994 to 1996, and the 1997 power cost was $35,223 exceeding the three-year average by $10,668. This is the amount eligible for reimbursement.
Rationale: 44 CFR 206.225 and FEMA's policy derived from it provides that only excess pumping costs over the most recent three-year average of these costs are eligible for assistance.