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FEMA Should Recover $929,379 of Hazard Mitigation Funds Awarded to St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana

Executive Summary

St. Tammany Parish (Parish) received awards totaling $15.3 million from the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (Louisiana), a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grantee, for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program resulting from four federally declared disasters. The Parish’s hazard mitigation projects generally met FEMA’s eligibility requirements; and the Parish’s project management generally complied with applicable regulations and guidelines. However, the Parish did not always account for and expend grant funds according to Federal regulations and FEMA guidelines. We audited 11 projects totaling $14.98 million, or 98 percent of the total $15.3 million award. However, at the time of our audit, the Parish had completed only 4 of the 11 projects and had claimed project costs of $6.9 million for the 11 projects in our audit scope. We found $609,271 in ineligible project costs and $320,108 in unsupported project costs for total questioned costs of $929,379. These findings occurred, in part, because Louisiana has not properly managed its grants. Most significantly, Louisiana had not developed and implemented a comprehensive strategy to close all Hazard Mitigation Grant Program projects.

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