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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 091-99091-00; Okaloosa County
PW ID# 104; Debris Removal from Private Road
August 13, 2010
State of Florida Division of Emergency Management
36 Skyline Drive
Lake Mary, Florida 32746
Re: Second Appeal–Okaloosa County, PA ID 091-99091-00, Debris Removal from Private Roads, FEMA-1595-DR-LA, Project Worksheet (PW) 104
Dear Mr. Halstead:
This is in response to a letter from your office dated November 11, 2009, which transmitted the referenced second appeal on behalf of Okaloosa County (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) denial of reimbursement of unclaimed costs for debris removal from private roads totaling $42,603.
Hurricane Dennis caused flooding and wind damage that deposited debris throughout Okaloosa County from July 7, 2005, through July 20, 2005. FEMA prepared PW 104 for reimbursement of contract costs associated with the removal of disaster-related debris throughout the county road system. The PW noted the Applicant removed disaster-related debris from private roads; however, the Applicant was not seeking FEMA reimbursement for that specific type of debris removal. On September 12, 2005, PW 104 was obligated for $1,324,564.
On January 31, 2006, the Applicant submitted its first appeal, which was transmitted by the State to FEMA on September 29, 2006. The Applicant requested that FEMA reimburse costs associated with debris removal from private roads using the same criteria FEMA applied to fund similar debris removal work associated with Hurricane Wilma [1609-DR-FL] in October 2005. The Applicant referenced FEMA’s October 21, 2005, Recovery Division Fact Sheet Debris Removal from Private Property that was issued as guidance for Hurricane Wilma applicants seeking reimbursement for costs related to debris removal from private property. The Applicant stated that the debris removal costs were eligible because the debris posed a threat to life, health and public safety, and requested that FEMA retroactively apply the October 2005 Fact Sheet so that the Applicant could claim costs it incurred removing debris from private property.
In a letter dated November 9, 2007, FEMA’s Regional Administrator denied the Applicant’s appeal stating that while the October 2005 Fact Sheet restated FEMA’s existing policy pertaining to private property debris removal, no new eligibility arose from its issuance.
In addition, the Regional Administrator explained that “in order for the Applicant to be eligible for the debris removal costs it must first demonstrate that it not only possessed the legal responsibility to remove debris from private property, but that an immediate threat to life, public health and safety compelled it to do so.”
The Applicant submitted its second appeal on July 29, 2009, which the State transmitted to FEMA on November 11, 2009. The Applicant reiterates the same position it claimed in the first appeal. Support documents include copies of the Okaloosa County “Declaration” of a local state of emergency, Okaloosa County local codes and ordinances, Right of Entry Agreements from county homeowners, and debris removal invoices from contractors.
Title 44 CFR §206.206(c) states that applicants must file appeals within 60 days of receipt of a notice of the action being appealed. FEMA notified the State of its first appeal decision in a letter dated November 9, 2007. The Applicant submitted its second appeal on July 29, 2009, and did not provide any extenuating circumstances for submitting the second appeal 19 months after the 60-day regulatory deadline. Therefore, the appeal is not valid.
I have reviewed the information submitted with the appeal and have determined that the Applicant did not provide any extenuating circumstances for submitting the second appeal after the regulatory deadline. Therefore, I am denying the appeal.
Please inform the Applicant of my decision. This determination is the final decision on this matter pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206, Appeals.
Elizabeth A. Zimmerman
cc: Major P. May
FEMA Region IV