o The State of Kansas, on behalf of Leavenworth Unified School District (USD) submitted a sub-application for the construction of a community safe room as part of a stadium construction project. Following review at the Regional level the project was sent to HQ for a Large Project Notification. Prior to notification, FEMA implemented funding restrictions such that funding through the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) would not be available until approximately 1 year after application. The subapplicant engineers indicated that a redesign, excluding the community safe room portion of the project from initial construction, would incur significant engineering costs. Based on this information, the subapplicant initiated construction with the safe room included and requested that because they complied with FEMA technical requirements, that the project be funded when funds became available. Region VII subsequently notified the subapplicant that the project was ineligible for funding, and the State submitted an appeal.
• Reason for Denial
o Region VII based the denial of the 1st appeal on the fact that the project was ineligible because construction had been initiated and became a project in progress prior to grant approval.
o 44 CFR 206.434 Eligibility; 44 CFR 206.440 Appeals, 44 CFR 206.436(d) Application Procedures
o The State filed a second appeal, stating that the delay in grant approval caused by a DRF funding freeze required them to initiate construction prior to grant approval and that the approval timeline was a mitigating factor.
• FEMA Findings
o FEMA HQ denied the 2nd appeal, supporting Region VII’s decision to deny the 1st appeal.
o Rationale: The subapplicant initiated construction of the safe room prior to FEMA awarding the grant and FEMA does not have discretion with regard to program regulations.
o Reference(s): 44 CFR 206.440 Appeals; 44 CFR 206.434 Eligibility; 44 CFR 206.436(d) Application Procedures; 44 CFR Part 206.439(c) Allowable Costs