Inspector General Report Says Metro Nashville Should Repay FEMA $413K From 2010 Flood Grant Funds

A report from the Office of Inspector General says Nashville-Davidson County owes the Federal Emergency Management Agency $413,074 in grant money from the May 1, 2010 flood, NewsChannel 5 said.

The Inspector General report is available here.

The city estimated that it cost the city and its residents $1.5 billion.

Nashville was declared a federal state of emergency three days after the rivers began rising, WVLT said.

According to the Inspector General’s report, “We determined the County was not fully aware of Federal grant administration requirements and FEMA Public Assistance Program guidelines. Specifically, for the projects we reviewed in the second phase of our two-phase audit, the County mostly accounted for FEMA funds project by project, as required.”

The report continued, “However, the County did not always follow regulations and guidelines when spending the funds. As a result, we identified $413,074 in project costs that FEMA should disallow. These costs consist of $402,552 in contract charges not supported by adequate documentation and $10,522 in duplicate costs. Additionally, FEMA has not finished reviewing insurance proceeds and allocating them to the County’s projects although doing so could reduce FEMA’s project costs under this grant.”

“We reviewed $365,684 of contract costs the County claimed for building repairs and cleanup, and document restoration under 55 project worksheets. As support for its claim, the County provided an Excel spreadsheet that listed specific work site charges under each project worksheet. However, the County could not provide documentation reconciling or cross-indexing the contract charges for work sites on the spreadsheet to specific contractor invoices. According to County officials, the County tried to analyze contractor invoices to allocate charges to specific work site locations, but because of the volume of documents (78 invoices and more than 2,100 pages) decided it was not feasible or cost effective to do so. Instead, for each project worksheet, the County performed a high-level review of the invoice details and interviewed key personnel directly involved in the flood repairs to identify contractor charges. We could not trace the costs listed on the Excel spreadsheet to specific invoices to validate the accuracy and eligibility of the costs.”

“Therefore, FEMA should disallow $365,684, unless the County provides sufficient documentation to support its claim.”

FEMA’s $70.3 million Public Assistance Program awarded to Nashville through the state of Tennessee provided 90 percent FEMA funding, The Tennessean said. It was made up of $27.2 million for emergency work (debris removal and emergency protective measures) and $43.1 million for permanent restoration of damaged roads and facilities.

Chris Harmon, spokesman for the Metro Finance Department, said the city plans to review for adequate documentation outlining the costs that were not accounted for.

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.
Photo “Davidson County Courthouse” by euthman. CC BY-SA 2.0.  

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