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Second Appeal Brief
PA ID# 017-66570-00; Town of Secaucus
PW ID# 169; Snow Removal
Conclusion: The Town of Secaucus’ snow clearance activities encompassed in Project Worksheet 169 are ineligible for public assistance because the snow removal occurred outside the Applicant’s designated 48-hour window.
Winter Storm Jonas impacted New Jersey during the incident period of January 22 to 24, 2016. Hudson County, where the Town of Secaucus is located, was designated to receive snow assistance. The eligible scope of work (SOW) for the disaster was initially described as including both (1) snow clearance for one lane of road during active snowfall, and (2) snow clearance of all roadways within the Applicant’s jurisdiction for a 48-hour period designated by the Applicant. Here, the Applicant designated the period from January 25 to 26, 2016. In Project Worksheet (PW) 169 the Applicant requested reimbursement for all of its snow clearance costs incurred before the designated 48-hour window from January 22 to 24, 2016. FEMA partially obligated PW 169, but limited eligible costs to snow clearance for one lane of roadway during active snowfall, in accordance with the approved SOW. The Applicant appealed, asserting that there was no basis for FEMA to limit reimbursement because the work qualified as emergency protective measures. The Regional Administrator (RA) determined that the obligated funds matched the SOW in the PW, but PW 169 as a whole was not eligible for reimbursement because snow removal costs incurred outside the designated 48‑hour window were ineligible. The RA found that FEMA was precluded from seeking repayment of the incorrectly-obligated funds in accordance with the Stafford Act § 705(c), but determined that no additional funding could be approved. The Applicant filed a second appeal, in which it argues that the SOW in PW 169 qualifies as an emergency protective measure, and is eligible for Public Assistance funding. It also asserts that reimbursement in PW 169 should not be limited to one lane of snow clearance during active snowfall.
Authorities and Second Appeals
- Stafford Act §§ 325, 403.
- 44 C.F.R. §§ 206.225, 206.227.
- PAPPG at 77-78.
- 44 C.F.R. § 206.227 limits Public Assistance funding available for snow related activities to a period of time specified by the conditions of the disaster. The PAPPG provides for funding only for a continuous 48-hour period, designated by applicants, to address the most critical emergency needs.
- PW 169’s SOW incorrectly stated that clearing one lane of snow during active snowfall was eligible work, even if it was outside the 48-hour window. FEMA also erroneously obligated funding in accordance with this SOW.
- Despite this, the Applicant’s snow removal work performed outside its designated 48-hour window are ineligible, and FEMA is not authorized to provide the additional funding that the Applicant seeks on appeal.