Conclusion: On second appeal, FEMA finds the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors (Applicant) did not timely file its first appeal.
As a result of severe storms and flooding in Iowa in June 2014, FEMA prepared Project Worksheet (PW) 298 to address damage and hazard mitigation to engineered ditches throughout the Applicant’s drainage districts, and PW 299 to clear sand/silt bars, sediment and vegetative debris in the channel bottoms of the ditches. FEMA determined both PWs were ineligible due to indications of predisaster damage and the possibility that damages were not a direct result of the disaster, a lack of maintenance records, evidence of repairs to a portion of the drainage made by landowners at no cost to the Applicant, and the possibility that the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) might have jurisdiction. After sending an “Intent to Appeal” letter, dated May 12, 2015, to the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (Grantee), the Applicant appealed both PWs on July 9, 2015. The Grantee concurred on July 13, 2015. On first appeal, the Applicant: (1) disputed FEMA’s characterization of the work documented in PW 299 as emergency work debris removal; (2) cited its legal responsibilities for drainage ditch maintenance; (3) summarized 574 repair invoices it claimed proved routine maintenance; (4) refuted FEMA’s contention that information and photos showed damages that may have preceded the disaster; (5) attached statements from the NRCS and the United States Army Corps of Engineers; and (6) acknowledged that repairs made by landowners would not be eligible for FEMA funding assistance. On June 28, 2016, the Regional Administrator (RA) denied the appeal, determining the Applicant failed to demonstrate: (1) ineligibility for funding under the NRCS Emergency Watershed Protection program; (2) predisaster conditions; (3) predisaster maintenance and a regular clearance schedule; and (4) that all the claimed damages occurred on improved waterways for which the Applicant was legally responsible. Lastly, the RA determined the appeal was untimely In its second appeal, the Applicant argues the appeal was timely filed; documentation demonstrates regular inspections and maintenance; the damages at issue did result from the disaster; the facilities are not eligible for funding under NRCS; the facilities are improved waterways; and, the Applicant is legally responsible for all claimed costs.
Authorities and Second Appeals
Stafford Act § 423.
44 C.F.R. § 206.206(a).
44 C.F.R. § 206.206(c)(2).
Broward County School Board of Florida, FEMA-1609-DR-FL, at 3.
Pursuant to 44 C.F.R. § 206.206(c)(2), grantees have 60 days to submit appeals to FEMA. 44 C.F.R. § 206.206(a) requires the appeal contain documented justification.
The Applicant’s July 9, 2015 appeal was filed more than 60 days after it received notice of FEMA’s determinations regarding ineligibility.
A copy of the May 12, 2015 intent to appeal letter was sent to FEMA with the Applicant’s second appeal, after the record had closed, and did not include monetary figure, documented justification or provisions in law.