FEMA Considerably Lowers Duluth’s Payback From Flood

Just weeks ago, Duluth was in danger of having to pay back $1.5 million to FEMA for potential unqualified use of emergency money during the Northland Flash Flood.  But last week officials were notified the payment had been waved to a much lower amount in the thousands.

After the flood of 2012, FEMA came in and granted Duluth $13 million to help with relief.

To use the money, many standards have to be met, including giving businesses owned by women and minorities a fair shake when hiring contractors.

After the work was done, FEMA did a review and had some questions for Duluth.

“They came in and found a number of items that we didn’t technically comply with by putting things out in the right bid weight or contacting these businesses specifically things like that,” said Dave Montgomery, the city’s Chief Administrative Officer.

The audit found FEMA had no assurance that their guidelines were met.

One big problem Duluth ran into was the lack of businesses owned by women or minorities in the Northland.

City officials say not having to pay back the money is a huge weight lifted from the city’s shoulders.

“We would have found that money from other sources and that would have taken away from again either parks or libraries or police or fire or in this case because we’ve been successful in building up our reserves we would have had to hit our reserves for a 1.5 million,” said Montgomery.

They are not completely off the hook however; the city will pay FEMA the $8,000 agreed upon between the two parties.

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