Tropical Storm Fay leaves a neighborhood flooded on Aug. 30, 2008, in DeBary, Fla. (George Armstrong/FEMA)

OIG: City of Waterloo Jeopardizes $1.9 Million in FEMA Grants

An OIG report has found that the city of Waterloo, Iowa, put $1.9 million of funding from FEMA grants at risk of being deobligated by not providing documentation.

The funding was to repair damages from severe storms and flooding from Sept. 21 through Oct. 3, 2016. OIG found that city officials did not provide all requested information and explanations necessary to perform its review, which meant the OIG was unable to assess whether the city’s policies, procedures, and business practices were adequate to account for FEMA Public Assistance grant funds properly.

Both FEMA and state officials said they experienced similar difficulties obtaining necessary information to process the city’s grant awards, which affected the overall award amount. Based on the city’s actions, FEMA lacks assurance that the city can account for disaster-related costs or that those costs are eligible and allowable. FEMA also cannot ensure that the city followed federal procurement regulations and FEMA guidelines for disaster-related costs.

The Inspector General made three recommendations, which were that FEMA suspends or delays approval of additional project funding for the city, under 4289-DR-IA, until Iowa verifies that the city complied with federal requirements for sufficient access to records and information, and completes onsite visits. It also recommends that FEMA considers the city an at-risk subrecipient and directs Iowa to impose special award conditions.

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