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Second Appeal Brief
PA ID# 000-U03E9-00; Florida Department of Transportation
PW ID# 4877 and 5389; Sinkhole Repairs
Citation: FEMA-1545-DR-FL, Florida Department of Transportation, Sinkhole Repairs, Project Worksheets (PWs) 4877 and 5389
Reference: Work Eligibility
Summary: In September 2004, Hurricanes Frances (FEMA-1545-DR-FL) and Jeanne (FEMA-1561-DR-FL) dropped 16-20 inches of rainfall within the Applicant’s jurisdiction. Under the Disaster Declaration for Hurricane Frances, FEMA prepared PW 4877 for the mobilization, materials and equipment necessary to repair sinkholes located partially on a county road ditch and on an adjacent privately owned parking lot. In addition, FEMA prepared PW 5389 for sinkholes located within Applicant owned retention ponds. At final review, the sinkhole repairs for both PWs were determined to be ineligible under general eligibly requirements which state that work must be the direct result of the disaster. As a result, the work associated with PW 4877 was deemed ineligible while PW 5389 was de-obligated in the amount of $352,896.
In the first appeal, dated December 5, 2005, the Applicant asserted that the sinkhole repair costs associated with PWs 4877 and 5389 were eligible emergency protective measures undertaken by a community before, during, and following a disaster that are necessary to eliminate or reduce an immediate threat to life, public health, or safety or to eliminate or reduce an immediate hazard that threatens significant additional damage to improved public or private property. FEMA denied the appeal on June 30, 2006, stating that the sinkhole repairs did not meet the minimum requirement for eligibility for financial assistance under 44 Code of Federal Regulations (44 CFR) §206.223(a)(1): “An item of work must be a result of the major disaster event”. The denial letter noted that sinkholes in this region of Florida are associated with natural topographical conditions that were in existence prior to Hurricane Frances. FEMA determined that the appearance of sinkholes was inevitable because of this topography and not a direct result of the disaster and that the Applicant had not provided any documentation to show that the sinkholes were the result of the Hurricane.
Issue: Were the sinkholes the direct result of the disaster event?
Rationale: Title 44 Code of Federal Regulations (44 CFR) §202.223(a)(1) General Work Eligibility