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The objective of the Public Assistance Program is to provide assistance to states, local governments, and selected nonprofit organizations for the alleviation of suffering and hardship resulting from major disasters or emergencies declared by the President. This is a cost share program. The Federal Government provides 75% and the local governmental share is 25% of eligible reimbursable disaster costs. Costs under $1,000 per project are not eligible.
A. State and Local Governments, and Special Districts
Any county, city, town, district, or other political subdivision of any state and includes any rural community, unincorporated town or village, or other public entity for which an application for assistance is made by a state or political subdivision thereof.
Other state and local political subdivisions may be eligible if they are formed in accordance with state law as a separate entity and having taxing authority. These include, but are not limited to, school districts, irrigation districts, fire districts, and utility districts.
B. Private Nonprofit Organizations
All facilities must provide an essential governmental service and be open to the general public.
A. An Eligible Item of Work Must
B. Other Federal Agency (OFA) Programs
FEMA will not provide assistance when another federal agency has specific authority to restore facilities damaged by a major disaster.
No assistance will be provided to an applicant for damages caused by its own negligence. If negligence by another party results in damages, assistance may be provided on the condition that the applicant agrees to cooperate with FEMA in all efforts to recover the costs of such assistance from the negligent party.
A. Public Interest Determination By FEMA
B. Private Property Debris Removal
EMERGENCY PROTECTIVE MEASURES
PERMANENT RESTORATION OF FACILITIES
A. General Eligibility
A. Repairs and Replacements
The damage must be directly related to the disaster. It cannot be a pre-existing condition nor caused by an event after the official period of incidence. Repairs to structures may be made when the estimated repair cost is less than the estimated replacement cost, unless the structure is damaged greater than 50%. If a structure is damaged to the extent that repairs exceed 50% of the replacement costs funding may be provided to replace the structure. The applicant also may choose to make repairs; however the funding provided will be limited to the cost of replacement.
B. Road Repairs
On gravel roads, the base need not be damaged to be eligible for major gravel replacement. Loss of gravel must be evident. Potholes and rutted surfaces must be shown to be a result of the disaster event.
Loss of paved surface is eligible. Alligatored surface is generally a sign of normal deterioration and is not eligible.
Bridge and road standards that have been formally adopted and are in practice, or adopted and placed in effect prior to project approval by the applicant, are eligible. The standards must apply to work accomplished using all sources of funds, and not limited to work receiving state and/or federal aid. A copy of standards and council meeting minutes approving the standards should be maintained in the permanent applicant file.
E. On-System Facilities
Facilities funded by other federal agencies, such as the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), are not eligible for permanent repair. Debris removal and emergency measures are eligible on federal-aid roads except where the Emergency Relief (ER) program of the FHWA is activated. For further particulars, see FEMA Public Assistance Guide.
F. Scheduled Replacement
Facilities are not eligible if scheduled for replacement within the next 12 months using federal funds.
WATER CONTROL FACILITIES
A. Levees and Dams
If the levee or dam meets the definition of a flood control work and thus falls within the authority of the U.S. Army corps of Engineers (USACE) or Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), it is not eligible.
B. Drainage Channels
Restore to pre-flood hydraulic capacity. The USACE or NRCS may be involved in some flood channels; in these cases, drainage channels are not eligible. Manmade channels must show evidence of routine maintenance. Appropriate documentation should be placed in permanent applicant file.
C. Natural Streams
Debris removal from natural streams is not normally eligible for assistance. Only debris that causes a threat to lives, public health and safety, or damage to improved property from a 5-year flood event, is eligible. Work to protect improved property must have a favorable ratio of benefits to costs. Any work in natural streams must also be closely reviewed and monitored to minimize undesirable environmental effects.
D. Seeding and Sodding
Seeding, grass, and sod will be eligible only when necessary to stabilize slopes and minimize sediment runoff. Seeding, grass, and sod will not be eligible for cosmetic purposes.
Disaster-caused debris in catch basins and channels is eligible for removal if no pre-existing condition can be established.
PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND EQUIPMENT
Buildings are to be restored to pre-disaster design capacity in accordance with present codes and standards.
B. Use and Occupancy
The building must have been in active use prior to the disaster. If only part of the building was occupied at the time of the disaster, or if the building was being used for a less demanding function than its original purpose, then replacement will be made at the reduced size, or restoration will be limited to that required to resume the immediate pre-disaster use.
C. Extensive Damage
If repairs to a facility would cost 50% or more of the cost of replacing the facility to its pre-disaster design, then the facility is eligible for replacement. This is known as the “50% Rule”, and is discussed in detail in the FEMA Public Assistance Guide.
Check on insurance presently in force. Insurance coverage pays first. Uninsured losses are eligible. If repair costs exceed $5,000, a general hazard insurance comment will be required equal to the amount of damages. Repair costs for flood damages occurring to buildings and/or contents within the 100-year flood zone will be reduced by the amount that would have been available from a standard NFIP flood policy whether or not the facility was actually insured.
Office equipment and furniture should be replaced with used or surplus, if available. Repair if feasible.
Consumable supplies will be replaced to pre-disaster quantities.
Special equipment, such as two-way radios, is eligible. Blue book prices should be used and salvage taken. Check for comprehensive insurance.
Grounds around buildings may be included with building structure if it is to be handled as a single project, except trees and other plantings, which are not eligible.
For buildings with light damage, cleaning and painting is eligible.
J. Worship Facilities
Buildings that are used primarily for worship or religious education purposes are not eligible.
Restore to pre-disaster condition in the most economical manner. Extra pole structures are sometimes necessary to restore the function when erosion has destroyed stream banks and ground clearance has to be maintained over longer distances.
B. Sewer Collapse
Visual evidence of ground subsidence indicating infiltration into the pipe must be present.
C. TV Inspection
Limited TV inspection is eligible when damage is apparent. Use of TV inspection to search for problems is not eligible.
Cleaning of disaster-related debris from sewer lines is eligible only when necessary to restore adequate functioning of the system in specific reaches if no pre-existing condition can be established.
Loss of revenue is not eligible. Added costs or charges for providing regular utility services are not eligible.
PARKS, RECREATIONAL, AND OTHER
Grass, seeding, and sod are eligible only when necessary to stabilize slopes and minimize sediment runoff. Grass, seeding, and sod are not eligible for cosmetic purposes.
Trees and other plantings are not eligible.
C. Damage Estimates
All structure and damage sites within a park may be included as a single project if repair or contract is being handled that way. They can be claimed separately, if desired.
To be eligible, a beach must have been improved and regularly maintained prior to the disaster. Maintain documentation in permanent applicant file. Permanent restoration of the sand on natural beaches is not eligible. (Also see Emergency Protective Measures.)