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Second Appeal Brief
PA ID# 037-99037-00; Los Angeles County
PW ID# 444; Debris Removal
Conclusion: The Applicant’s first appeal was not submitted in accordance with the substantive and procedural requirements. While the Applicant did provide some photos showing potential eligible work, without a detailed scope of work, eligible costs cannot be determined.
From January 17 through February 6, 2010, rainstorms deposited vegetative debris, mud, and rock onto roads and blocked 453 culvert drains in Los Angeles County (Applicant) Road District 518. FEMA prepared PW 444 for $353,730.13 to remove 120 cubic yards of debris, but it was never obligated. FEMA determined that the debris removal costs were ineligible because photographs submitted showed minimal debris on public and maintained property and there was a general lack of documentation supporting the work. In a first appeal letter, the Applicant appealed FEMA’s denial of debris removal without specifying a monetary figure or including any additional information. The Applicant stated that additional information and documentation would follow shortly. In a subsequent letter submitted after the appeal deadline, the Applicant appealed $191,500.00 for debris removal and provided information to supplement the original appeal letter. The Regional Administrator denied the first appeal because the Applicant did not timely submit a complete appeal, photos submitted showed debris on natural, unmaintained areas, and private property, and minimal debris on public property, and there was no documentation supporting the work. On second appeal, the Applicant submitted more photos with captions and more detailed documentation.
Authorities and Second Appeals
- 44 C.F.R. § 206.206(c)(1).
- PA Guide, at 67, 69, 101.
- 44 C.F.R. § 206.206(c)(1) states that “Appellants must file appeals within 60 days after receipt of a notice of the action that is being appealed.”
- The Applicant did file an appeal within the 60-day period. When additional information is required after the filing of an appeal, FEMA may issue a Request for Information (RFI) to which the Applicant has a specific date to respond. The Applicant’s February 13th letter is equivalent to an RFI response from an appeal applicant.
- The FEMA PA Guide states that debris removal must eliminate immediate threats of significant damage to improved property, and that debris on private property rarely affects the public at large and may not be the legal responsibility of a State or local government.
- The Applicant did not provide sufficient evidence to show that all debris removal activities were due to immediate threats to improved property.
- The PA Guide states that in the PW scope of work, work should be specified as an action with quantifiable and descriptive terms.
- The Applicant did not provide sufficient information to determine an adequate scope of work. Therefore, FEMA cannot determine eligible costs.