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Second Appeal Brief
PA ID# 003-99003-00; Baldwin County
PW ID# N/A; Audit Report DD-09-03
Citation: FEMA-1549-DR-AL and FEMA-1593-DR-AL, Baldwin County, OIG Audit Report Findings
Reference: OIG Audit Report
Summary: Hurricanes Ivan, Dennis, and Katrina caused significant damage and deposited debris in Baldwin County, Alabama in September 2004, July 2005, and August 2005, respectively. FEMA prepared several PWs for debris removal, and these projects were completed and closed out. The DHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued Audit Report DD-09-03 in December 2008 after auditing 26 approved projects totaling almost $39.6 million. DHS OIG questioned $10.5 million and determined that Baldwin County (Applicant) incurred excessive costs related to tipping fees, interest earned on these fees, stump removal costs, duplicate charges, and insurance claims. Of these five issues, the Applicant concurred on two: duplicate charges and insurance claims. The Regional Administrator partially concurred with the OIG findings and disallowed $5.8 million of the recommended $10.5 million from Hurricanes Ivan, Dennis, and Katrina. The Applicant appealed three findings regarding tipping fees, interest on these fees, and stump removal in October 2009. The FEMA Regional Administrator denied the fist appeal in April 2010. The Applicant submitted FEMA-1605-DR-AL to arbitration and the Board of Contract Appeals awarded the Applicant $523,041 in tipping fees for Hurricane Katrina. The Applicant is appealing the remaining disallowed tipping fees, interest, and stump removal charges from Hurricanes Ivan and Dennis for a total of $5,230,578, claiming that FEMA policies and guidance from the time of the disasters support the costs incurred for FEMA-1549-DR-AL and FEMA-1593-DR-AL.
Issue: Did the Applicant provide information to substantiate the costs associated with tipping fees and the interest earned on these fees? Are the stump removal charges justifiable?
Finding: Yes. The Applicant provided evidence that the tipping fees are eligible, and the interest earned on these funds in the Applicant’s account are eligible. However, the stump removal costs questioned in the audit are not.
Rationale: Debris Management Guide (FEMA 325), dated July 2007; Public Assistance Guide (FEMA 322), dated October 1999; Public Assistance Debris Operations Job Aid (FEMA 9580.1), dated August 2000.