Pearlington Water System, Global Match

Appeal Brief Appeal Letter Appeal Analysis

Appeal Brief

ApplicantMississippi Emergency Management Agency
Appeal Type2nd
Date Signed2010-05-13T00:00:00

1st Appeal
• Issue
o The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) submitted an application on behalf of the Pearlington-Port Bienville Regional Water Supply for Global Match credit for providing potable water lines to replace private wells impacted by the inundation caused by Hurricane Katrina. The project included the installation of water lines for future development. When the Mississippi Transitional Recovery Office (TRO) denied the application, MEMA contended that the project did not constitute a capital improvement; rather it was mitigating the human health concern caused by well contamination. Additionally, the Applicant stated that the expansion of the water supply to areas less vulnerable to flooding would encourage coastal residents to relocate, furthering the mitigation goal of the project.
• Reason for Denial
o Region VII supported the denial by the TRO and based the denial of the 1st appeal on the facts that the project, as designed, constituted a capital improvement that did not primarily mitigate an existing risk, did not solve a problem independently, and that funding the project would result in a Duplication of Programs (DOP), because water system expansions typically are funded through federal water system grants or local bonds.
• Reference(s)
o 44 CFR 206.434 Eligibility, Independent Solution or Functional Portion of a Solution, DOP;   44 CFR 206.440 Appeals, 44 CFR 206.436(d) Application Procedures
2nd Appeal
• Issue
o The subgrantee filed a second appeal through Region VII, stating that the water project constituted a mitigation project solved a problem independently, and that the project did not result in a DOP. Also stated was that they were seeking credit for Global Match, not actual funding for the project.
• FEMA Findings
o FEMA HQ denied the 2nd appeal, supporting Region IV’s decision to deny the 1st appeal; however it was noted that a reduced scope may constitute an eligible project.
o Rationale: A significant portion of the project served an undeveloped area; therefore the project was not consistent with the stated goals of the Stafford Act and did not meet regulatory requirements of the HMGP.

Appeal Letter

MAY 13 2010
Thomas M. Womack
Executive Director
State of Mississippi
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency
Post Office Box 5644
Pearl, Mississippi 39208-5644
RE: Second Appeal for Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration Global Match Project Application for Pearlington Water System
HMGP DR-1604-MS, State Number 783
Total Project Cost: $12,704,543
Federal share: $635,227 (5%)
Non-Federal Share $12,069,316 (95%)
Dear Mr. Womack,
I am responding to your request dated October 12, 2009 for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to review the second level appeal for the Pearlington Water System, submitted under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). You are requesting that our office consider the information you submitted in the appeal package, and you indicated that this project is designed to contribute essential non-federal match, which is critical to the State's recovery.

Your second appeal follows the decision by the FEMA Region IV Office in Atlanta dated August 13, 2009, which upheld the Mississippi Recovery Office (MSRO) position of April 14, 2009 that this project is not eligible, and cannot be considered for funding or as match contribution. FEMA Region IV Hazard Mitigation Assistance Branch upheld the ineligibility determination of the MSRO for the following reasons. The project, as designed, represents a capital improvement that does not primarily mitigate an existing risk but, rather, proposes to construct a new water system to afford future service to areas not yet developed.

My staff has thoroughly reviewed the documentation in support of the State's request and concurs with the FEMA Region IV earlier denial. As previously stated, a significant portion of the proposed water delivery system affords service to undeveloped areas. Therefore, I have concluded that this project as submitted does not meet the primary intent of the HMGP set forth in the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S. C. 5170c(a), which is to substantially reduce existing risk.
However, it may be possible to modify this proposal so that it results in an eligible project and a subsequent contribution to the statutorily required non-federal cost share for DR-1604, Hurricane Katrina. For example, the application indicates that construction is planned in segments. The initial work primarily serves existing customers who repeatedly experience supply and operational failures from flooding while other segments would serve future system loads. The portion designed to service existing system users may constitute an eligible action if designed to mitigate flood risk. However, additional information is needed to complete our review. This review would assess the project against program eligibility criteria including the January 15, 2008 Disaster Specific Guidance which allows FEMA to retroactively approve certain eligible activities. FEMA is prepared to provide technical support to help the applicant revise this project.

In conclusion, after reviewing the second level appeal, FEMA Headquarters concurs with the decisions of the Region but believes that reducing the scope may result in an eligible project.

FEMA will allow the applicant 60 days from the date of this letter to revise the scope and budget and re-submit the project to FEMA, or to request technical assistance. I understand that this project may only provide a partial solution to obtain the necessary match for this disaster. Thus, I also offer support to assist in exploring other submitted projects and options to help you meet the HMGP match requirement within program allowances. The recovery from Katrina is challenging, and FEMA is committed to providing continued assistance as you rebuild your communities. I look forward to collaborating with you to address these issues.

If you have any additional questions regarding this issue or would like to request additional assistance, please contact Deborah Ingram, Director, Risk Reduction Division, Mitigation Directorate at (202) 646-2856.

Sandra K. Knight, PhD,PE
Deputy Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administrator, Mitigation
cc: Major P. May, Regional Administrator, FEMA Region IV
Brad Loar, Hazard Mitigation Assistance Branch Chief
John LaBrune, Mitigation Section Chief, MSRO


Appeal Analysis

The project as designed represented a capital improvement that did not primarily mitigate an existing risk, but proposed to construct a new water system to afford future service to undeveloped areas. A significant portion of the proposed water delivery system afforded service to undeveloped areas.
Last updated August 19, 2014