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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 285-49560-00; City of Moulton
PW ID# 157; Eligible Costs
October 15, 2007
Mr. Frank Cantu
State Coordinating Officer
Division of Emergency Management
Office of the Governor
9001 N. IH-35
Austin, TX 78753
Re: Second Appeal – City of Moulton, PA ID# 285-49560-00, Eligible Costs
FEMA-1606-DR-TX, Project Worksheet # 157
Dear Mr. Cantu:
This is in response to a letter from your office dated January 23, 2007, which transmitted the above referenced second appeal on behalf of the City of Moulton (City), dated January 10, 2007. The City is requesting reimbursement of $2,817.18 for electrical contractor standby time that was determined ineligible under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public Assistance (PA) Program.
Project Worksheet (PW) #157 was written on November 15, 2005, for electrical contractor costs incurred by the City on September 24, 2005, in anticipation of possible power outages from Hurricane Rita. The PW was written for $0.00 because the electrical repair crew on standby was not actually performing work eligible for reimbursement under the PA Program.
On March 24, 2006, the State forwarded the City’s first appeal, dated January 11, 2006. The City stated that because it was in the initial path of Rita, it was reasonable to expect that it might sustain considerable electrical damage. Therefore, the decision was made to have an electrical contractor on standby to restore power, if necessary. FEMA denied the appeal in a letter dated April 18, 2006, stating that under emergency protective measures only “costs that can be directly tied to the performance of eligible work are eligible.” An electrical crew on standby is not performing eligible emergency work.
On May 26, 2006, the State submitted a reconsideration request directly to FEMA Headquarters. FEMA Headquarters informed the State that a formal second appeal pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206 must be submitted to FEMA within 60 days of the date of that letter. The FEMA Transitional Recovery Office (TRO) sent a subsequent letter to the State on December 28, 2006, giving an extended second appeal submission deadline of three weeks from the date of the letter.
On January 10, 2007, the City submitted its second appeal, which was forwarded to FEMA by the State on January 23, 2007. The City submitted no new information with the appeal. The State supported the second appeal, stating that “the anticipation of Hurricane force winds and rains [compelled] the City to secure this contractor to provide protective measures for its citizens because they knew that their electrical services department, consisting of only two employees, would not be capable of performing such a major task had the City been severely impacted.”
Standby costs are not eligible emergency labor costs reimbursable under the PA Program. Section 403 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief Act (Stafford Act) allows for reimbursement for performing work essential to saving lives and protecting and preserving property or public health and safety. 44 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §206.225 further defines eligible work as that which eliminates or lessen immediate threats to life, public health and safety, and damage to public and private property. Because the electrical repair crew was not actually performing emergency work while they were on the standby, they were not actually performing eligible work for which reimbursement could be made.
I have determined that the Applicant’s employees were not performing eligible emergency work in accordance with Section 403 of the Stafford Act and 44 CFR §206.225. Therefore, this appeal is denied.
Please inform the City of this determination. This determination is the final decision on this matter pursuant to 44 CFR §202.206.
Carlos J. Castillo
Disaster Assistance Directorate
cc: William Peterson
FEMA Region VI