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Georgetown County, SC, Relocation and Upgrading of County Emergency Operations Center

Appeal Brief Appeal Letter Appeal Analysis

Appeal Brief

ApplicantSouth Carolina Emergency Management Division
Appeal Type2nd
Date Signed1993-08-27T00:00:00
1st Appeal
• Issue
o Georgetown County, South Carolina, applied under disaster declaration DR-843-SC for a grant under HMGP for the relocation of its Emergency Operating Center (EOC), to purchase new communications equipment, and to add a new emergency power generator. FEMA Region IV denied approval, and Georgetown County appealed. Region IV denied the appeal.
• Reason for Denial
o The proposed project did not meet the criteria for eligibility under regulations of the HMGP provided in 44 CFR 206.434, because the application did not have sufficient information to determine HMGP eligibility and the project also qualified for funds under other Federal authority, a Duplication of Programs (DOP).
• Reference(s)
o 44 CFR 206.434 Eligibility;   44 CFR 206.440 Appeals
2nd Appeal
• Issue
o The subapplicant submitted the 2nd appeal based on the premises that information in the application to determine HMGP eligibility was sufficient, the qualification for funds under other Federal authority (DOP) was immaterial, and the project was eligible for funding under the HMGP simply because it is a hazard mitigation measure.
• FEMA Findings
o The 2nd appeal decision was to uphold the 1st appeal denial.
o The rationale for the decision was agreement with the reasons stipulated by Region IV for the 1st appeal denial, and additionally that HMGP funds are not appropriately used to increase operational capability or modernize equipment.
o Reference(s):  44 CFR 206.434 Eligibility;   44 CFR 206.440 Appeals

Appeal Letter

27-AUG-93
 
Mr. Bob Cates
Governor’s Authorized Representative
Office of the Governor
1300 Pickens Street, Suite 202
Columbia, South Carolina 29201
 
Dear Mr. Cates:
 
This letter responds to your second appeal on behalf of Georgetown County, South Carolina, for a grant through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). The County applied for a grant of $179,650, which is 50 percent of an estimated cost of $359,300, to gain more space by relocating its Emergency Operating Center (EOC), to purchase new communications equipment, and to add a new emergency power generator. You asked that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reverse the decision of the FEMA Regional Director, Region IV,
because the proposed project meets the criteria for eligibility under regulations of the HMGP.

After reviewing all the information on the appeal, I conclude that the proposed Georgetown County project is not eligible for funding under the HMGP. Our review shows that the proposed project does not fulfill eligibility criteria specified in HMGP regulations (44 CFR 206.434). In addition, the proposal does not conform to the policy guidance on equipment purchases that this office issued in February, 1992. This letter summarizes the rationale for my decision, and the enclosed analysis is a complete discussion of the rationale underlying my decision.
 
Our review was guided by the issues raised in your appeal letter of May 27, 1992. In contrast to FEMA Region IV’s opinion, you suggested that, first, the application had sufficient information to determine whether the project qualified for a grant. Second, you believed it was immaterial that the project also qualified for funds under other Federal authority, in contrast to FEMA Region IV’s opinion. Third, you believed the project is eligible for funding under the HMGP simply because it is a hazard mitigation measure.
 
In consideration of the first issue, our review revealed the project application lacked sufficient information and data to fulfill application requirements. It is not clear, for example, whether the proposed project conformed to the State’s Hazard Mitigation Plan (“409” Plan), as required by HMGP regulations at 44 CFR 204.406(g) and 434(b)(1).

In consideration of the second issue, and except for the circumstances noted below, HMGP grants cannot be substituted for insufficient appropriations under other Federal authority, particularly appropriations under authority of the Civil Defense Act.
 
In consideration of the third issue, the HMGP may provide a grant to assist in the relocation of an EOC under certain circumstances. Even in those circumstances, however, the project must comply with all criteria for eligibility under the HMGP. This policy is explained in the memorandum issued by this office in February, 1992, stating in part:
 
The HMGP would fund the relocation or floodproofing, or seismic retrofit, of an emergency operating center in the interest of a comprehensive mitigation strategy adopted by a community. HMGP funds are not appropriately used to increase operational capability or modernize equipment, [however],
 
To reiterate, equipment purchases alone (e.g., modernizing communications equipment or upgrading emergency generators) are not within the scope of hazard mitigation as defined under the HMGP. Facilities and equipment damaged as a consequence of a disaster are eligible for repair and replacement under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program, however.

In light of our review, all three initiatives of Georgetown County’s project proposal (i.e., relocating the EOC, purchasing an improved central communications system, and purchasing an emergency generator) are not eligible for HMGP funding.
 
Please advise the applicant of my decision in this matter.
 
Sincerely,
 
Richard W. Krimm
Deputy Associate Director
State and Local Programs and Support
 
Enclosure

 

Appeal Analysis

The project application lacked sufficient information and data to fulfill application requirements. It was not clear, for example, whether the proposed project conformed to the State’s Hazard Mitigation Plan (“409” Plan), as required by HMGP regulations at 44 CFR 204.406(g) and 434(b)(1).
 
HMGP grants cannot be substituted for insufficient appropriations under other Federal authority, particularly appropriations under authority of the Civil Defense Act.
 
HMGP may provide a grant to assist in the relocation of an EOC under certain circumstances. Even in those circumstances, however, the project must comply with all criteria for eligibility under the HMGP. This policy is explained in the memorandum issued by FEMA in February, 1992, stating in part: The HMGP would fund the relocation or floodproofing, or seismic retrofit, of an emergency operating center in the interest of a comprehensive mitigation strategy adopted by a community. HMGP funds are not appropriately used to increase operational capability or modernize equipment.

 

Last updated Aug 19, 2014