What Gulf Coast Congressman Gene Taylor wanted the Easter Bunny to bring him.
South Mississippi Living 4/07

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

County seeks allies vs. FEMA

November 29, 2007

HARRISON COUNTY -- The county has written members of Congress in hopes of gaining support against FEMA's refusal to reimburse $12 million for Hurricane Katrina cleanup.

An internal probe by FEMA in 2006 questioned nearly $9 million worth of debris on public rights of way and nearly $3 million on cases involving private properties.

FEMA, which inspected more than a dozen roads where TCB Construction workers removed leaning and dead trees, could not match the number of stumps left on roadways and private properties to what the Poplarville company had ticketed. FEMA also believes TCB charged excessive fees.

Tim Holleman, the county attorney handling the appeal, sent letters to Sens. Trent Lott and Thad Cochran and Reps. Gene Taylor and Bennie Thompson. MEMA is backing the county's appeal.

"It's simply a letter setting forth the basic issues and asking them if they can review it," Holleman said. "We're hoping that FEMA will follow recommendations of MEMA to begin with and pay the county's claim for benefits."

"The alternative is we hope the representatives or senators can help us, get FEMA to pay it off," he said.

Harrison County is not alone in haggling with FEMA. Earlier this year, nearly two dozen counties and cities across the Gulf Coast were in danger of losing more than $18 million after FEMA questioned debris removal costs, The Associated Press reported.

County leaders have supplied FEMA with more than 30,000 pictures documenting and validating TCB's work, which FEMA has until Nov. 30 to act on.

FEMA believes that Harrison County agreed to pay TCB too much for debris cleanup. But Holleman said the TCB rate is less than what FEMA pays the Corps of Engineers for such work.

Holleman said he requested the contracts between FEMA and the corps. However, FEMA has refused, citing proprietary information.

Return to A.M. in the Morning! Home

No comments: