The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not approve the new scope of work for a $47.3 million Louisville, Mississippi project to redesign a new plywood facility and acquire/replace/repair 11 additional facilities under the Public Assistance Alternative Procedures (PAAP) program in relation to a PAAP award of $51.7 million for damages resulting from April 2014 storms, according to a Department of Homeland Security Inspector General (IG) audit report.
“As a result,” the IG reported, “the project remains unauthorized, which increases the risk that some or all of the work the city is conducting will be ineligible for funding.”
Nevertheless, the IG stated, the “city has started work on the project to redesign a new plywood facility and acquire/replace/repair 11 additional facilities under the PAAP Program. In addition, FEMA has yet to conduct the required environmental and historic preservation review on the revised project to ensure that the new scope of work will not negatively affect the environment or historical structures. This also jeopardizes the federal funding for the project.”
Continuing, the IG said, “About a month after we discussed these issues with FEMA Region IV officials, they approved the project’s new scope of work contingent on the completion of the required environmental and historic preservation review. FEMA committed to complete this review by October 31, 2016. However, until FEMA completes this federal requirement, the project remains ineligible; therefore, we question $47.3 million.”
The IG said FEMA officials agreed with its findings and recommendations.
The IG’s report comes on the heels of an earlier IG audit Homeland Security Today reported determined all FEMA grant payments for the $29.9 million FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency following Hurricane Katrina for the state’s Coastal Retrofit Program should be suspended until the state can properly account for the federal funds.
“Mississippi did not provide proper oversight of [the] $29.9 million grant for the Hazard Mitigation Program,” and, “As a result, FEMA has no assurance that Mississippi properly accounted for and expended federal funds,” the IG stated.
The IG said, “FEMA officials agreed with our findings and recommendations.”