PA ID# 061-99061-00; Indian River County
PW ID# 6495; Hazard Mitigation Proposal (HMP) – Rockridge Sewer System
Conclusion:The Applicant’s Hazard Mitigation Proposal (HMP) is not eligible under the Public Assistance Program because it addressed non-disaster-related damage, and Section 705(c) of the Stafford Act does not bar deobligation of the funding provided for the HMP because the funding was provided contrary to the Act and implementing regulations and policy.
In 2004, power outages from Hurricane Jeanne caused the sewer system in the Rockridge subdivision in Indian River County (Applicant) to fail. FEMA prepared Project Worksheet (PW) 6495 to address the costs of restoring damaged drainage facilities throughout the subdivision. PW 6495 included $2,827,524 for a Hazard Mitigation Proposal (HMP) to replace the existing sewer system with a vacuum-based sewage collection system. After a subsequent review of the project, FEMA determined that the HMP was not cost-effective and deobligated the funding. In its first appeal, the Applicant primarily asserted that FEMA’s benefit-cost analysis was flawed. The Regional Administrator denied the Applicant’s first appeal, determining that the HMP to replace the sewer system was not an eligible mitigation measure because it applied largely to elements of the facility that were undamaged by the event. In its second appeal, the Applicant does not dispute FEMA’s position that the HMP applies to undamaged elements of the facility, but instead argues that Section 705(c) of the Stafford Act prevents the deobligation of funding for the project.
Stafford Act § 705(c), 42 U.S.C. § 5205(c)
44 C.F.R. § 206.434(c)(4)
Response and Recovery Policy 9526.1, Hazard Mitigation Under Section 406 (Stafford Act) (Aug. 13, 1998)
Under Recovery Policy 9526.1, Hazard Mitigation Under Section 406 (Stafford Act), mitigation measures must be related to eligible disaster-related damages and must directly reduce the potential of future, similar disaster damages to the eligible facility. Because the Applicant’s HMP included the replacement of the entire sewer system and addressed non-damaged elements of the system as well as damaged elements, the HMP was not eligible under the Public Assistance Program.
Under Stafford Act § 705(c), an applicant is not required to reimburse FEMA for any payment made under the Stafford Act if “(1) the payment was authorized by an approved agreement specifying the costs; (2) the costs were reasonable; and (3) the purpose of the grant was accomplished.” Because the Applicant’s HMP addressed non-damaged elements of the subdivision’s collection system, the inclusion of funding for the HMP was contrary to Stafford Act implementing policy, and de-obligation of that funding does not fall within the scope of Section 705(c) of the Act.