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Second Appeal Summary
PA ID# 153-03950-00; City of Bellevue
ID# PW 109 & 110; Debris Removal – Support Documentation
Second Appeal: FEMA-4325-DR-NE, City of Bellevue, Project Worksheets 109 and 110 – Debris Removal – Support Documentation
In June 2017, severe storms, tornadoes, and straight-line winds damaged and downed trees in the City of Bellevue (Applicant), Nebraska. Between June 16 and November 30, 2017, the Applicant removed an estimated 5,000 cubic yards of trees and limbs from Lot 473, a wooded area surrounded by homes. FEMA developed Project Worksheets (PWs) 109 and 110 to capture costs from the debris removal operations under the Alternate Procedures Pilot Program, Sliding Scale for Debris Removal. However, FEMA partially denied funding in PW 109 and fully denied funding in PW 110 through a determination memorandum dated July 12, 2018, finding that the denied costs were associated with debris removal from natural, unimproved property. The Applicant appealed, asserting that Lot 473 is used by neighborhood residents for recreational hiking and that the debris posed an immediate threat. The FEMA Region VII Regional Administrator denied the appeal, stating that although the trail running through Lot 473 was an improvement, the Applicant did not submit documentation allowing FEMA to separate eligible work from ineligible work. The Applicant submitted a second appeal, asserting that debris within Lot 473 posed an immediate threat justifying its removal.
Authorities and Second Appeals
- Stafford Act § 407(a)(1).
- 2 C.F.R. § 200.403(g).
- 44 C.F.R. §§ 206.206(a), 206.221(c)-(d), 206.224(a).
- Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide, at 22, 46, 50, 51, 131.
- Lewis and Clark Rural Water System, FEMA-1984-DR-SD; City of Sweetwater, FEMA-1345-DR-FL.
- 44 C.F.R. § 206.224 permits Public Assistance funding for debris removal when it is necessary to: 1) eliminate immediate threats to life, public health, and safety, or 2) eliminate immediate threats of significant damage to improved public or private property. Debris removal from natural, unimproved land, such as heavily wooded areas and unused areas, is not eligible.
- The Applicant removed all vegetation from Lot 473. The Applicant’s work removing hanging limbs and trees leaning over the improved Daniel Trail is potentially eligible, but its documentation does not distinguish between this eligible work and ineligible work removing debris from unimproved areas of Lot 473. Therefore, because FEMA cannot distinguish between eligible and ineligible work, FEMA cannot fund the debris removal work in Lot 473.
The Applicant did not document its work such that FEMA can separate the costs of eligible work along the improved trail from the ineligible debris removal performed in Lot 473. Accordingly, the appeal is denied.