Appeal Summary | Appeal Letter | Back
Third Appeal Letter
PA ID# 037-70000; City of Santa Monica
DSR ID# 99761; Increased Operating Cost - Debris Removal
March 6, 1999
Mr. Gilbert Najera
Governor's Authorized Representative
Governor's Office of Emergency Services
74 North Pasadena Avenue, West Annex, Second Floor
Pasadena, California 91103
Dear Mr. Najera:
This is in response to your April 30, 1998, letter forwarding the City of Santa Monica's March 25, 1998, third appeal of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) determination that Damage Survey Report (DSR) 99761 was ineligible for disaster funding. The appeal package was received at FEMA's Region IX office on May 5, 1998. In its appeal, the City reiterated its claim that the extra debris it collected between January and May 1994 following the Northridge Earthquake (FEMA-1008-DR-CA) was disaster-related and its removal was necessary to reduce immediate threats to public health and safety. Therefore, it argued, the removal was eligible for disaster funding.
In the aftermath of the earthquake, FEMA wrote DSR 99761 for $190,000 to cover the costs of extra disaster-generated refuse the City claimed it collected and transported to the Pomona Landfill for the period January to May 1994. The DSR was declared ineligible on review because the applicant did not present sufficient documentation to substantiate that it incurred a loss due to increased disposal costs because of the disaster. The DSR Inspection team questioned whether the City had in fact experienced a loss in its trash collection operation following the disaster inasmuch as it charged a fee for its solid waste services typically generating revenue in proportion to its volume of business. The City was asked to show its recorded revenue and profit/loss data, and to explain how the extra expense it claimed occurred.
The City submitted its first appeal of the determination on November 17, 1995, in which it claimed that the extra operating expenses were directly attributable to the collection and disposal of the trash. It asserted that the data that was requested by the inspection team was not typically data that was required in the City Government and, therefore, could not be provided. The City's Senior Management Analyst added that the City of Santa Monica did not prepare a profit/loss statement for solid waste operations. FEMA's Disaster Recovery Manager (DRM) replied to the Governor's Authorized Representative (GAR) denying the appeal. The DRM pointed out that the solid waste (or trash) picked up by the City was ineligible because it was not shown to be eligible disaster-related debris (or wreckage) specified in the Stafford Act (Act).
On June 5, 1997, the City appealed the DRM's denial of its request. In this second appeal, the City took issue with the determination that the collection of solid waste was not authorized in the Act. The City reiterated that the debris it collected met the three work eligibility criteria of 44 CFR 206.223(a) and that removal of the debris was in the public interest. The Executive Associate Director denied the City's second appeal in a December 5, 1997, letter to the GAR because there was no evidence in the documentation provided showing that the excess debris collected met any of the conditions in 44 CFR 206.224(a).
I have examined the third appeal documentation provided and can find no justification for reversing FEMA's determinations of ineligibility for funding. Based on my review of the information supplied with the appeal, I have concluded that the Executive Associate Director's determination in the second appeal is consistent with the program statute and regulations. Therefore, I am denying the third appeal. Please inform the subgrantee of my determination. This is the final appeal allowed in 44 CFR 206.206.
James L. Witt
cc: Martha Z. Whetstone
FEMA Region IX