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Many emails were sent to the Executive Assistant to the Executive Director Lori Dupont for a copy of the Restore Louisiana Action Plan Amendment 10 when Action Plan Amendment 11 was announced after the Feb. 15, 2019 Restore Louisiana Task Force Meeting.
It became a problem to many Restore Louisiana Homeowners when APA 10 was not published and the states Office of Community Development was unresponsive to demands by the citizens to have access to a copy of the Action Plan Amendment 10.
The OCD-DRU compliance / legal team announced that Action Plan Amendment 10 was renamed to Action Plan Amendment 11. We found this not to be true when APA 10 was published about the same day APA 11 was published.
It was noted that APA 10 was published to HUD on Feb. 20th 2019 5 days after APA 11 was voted on by the RLHP Task Force.
HUD Approved APA 10 on Feb. 25th, 2019.
The issue is that the state OCD-DRU moved $5 million without informing the public, the governors office, the task force according to document requests sent to the OCD-DRU.
It was reported by internal OCD-DRU employees that APA 10 was actually APA 11. But then when APA 10 surfaced only a few days after several homeowners demanded a copy of it and it was not formatted the same as all the other APA's that have been sent to HUD questions of authority or operating beyond their authority became apparent.
One member reported that their document requests were ignore and another stated the OCD-DRU ask that they do not do this research.
So what is wrong?
The state acted as it's own governing agency and created a action plan that moved $5 million without notice to the public or to the commissions and boards put in place by the governors office under the Executive Order JBE-2016-65.
Research Note: If you would like to investigate this please feel free to do so. Homeowners would like to see an official response from the Director of the OCD-DRU and the Governors office.
Date: 3-9-2019 Updated: 3-9-2019 Subject:
REVIEW OF ETHICS AND OPEN MEETINGS LAWS
Ms. Allen started by stating she would be giving a quick 5 minute overview of the code of governmental ethics. She did take note that most of the members of the task force may have already received the proper training in the past due to their public service. But now that you are part of this important task force you are also a public servant in a different capacity so I'm asked here as a reminder that those provisions of the ethics code would apply to you as members of this task force. If you are an elected official that may be a different standard now that you are an appointed member of this body here. So if there are in questions our office is available to help you along with this. I discussed with Erin that there is in fact a training that is available, but if you have not received that training this year and you are currently a public servant you can go ahead and take that online or we can discuss at a future meeting if there are any questions on how it may affect you. The governmental code of ethics is a conflict of interest statute. Its goal and purpose is to prevent conflicts of interest in your public capacity or public service and your private capacity in some way. There are restrictions with immediate family members that may come into play. We have a lot of information on our website. So if there is ever a question that you may have or you see coming in the future, again you can contact our office but it is usually going to involve your service on this task force and if there are any actions between you, your family members, your businesses you may have or have an interest in that are going to interact with this task force those may be the red flags that trigger maybe I need to ask a question, we are certainly here and there to help if you have any of those types of questions we can do what we can informally and formally we can offer advice as the Board of Ethics.
Mr. Rees offered a very brief review of Open Meetings Laws. Most of the task force members are already aware of the open meetings laws because of your service in the public sector. At the outset we do not have any governance rules set yet, what we need to simply worry about is that once there is a quorum of the individuals on the task force, which is a majority, that any discussion about your mission is subject to the open meetings law, which means we need to have at least 24 hour public notice. Public participation is allowed, public comment is allowed. The staff will be working with you all on gathering agenda items, on posting the agenda items, but please be aware that if there is something that you would like to have addressed at the meetings it does need to be on the agenda. Once we establish future governance rules, as far as if the chairs and co-chairs choose to have by-laws and what not, that are spelling out operations and such, then we will know what open meetings laws are applicable. At this point I am trying to figure of if there will be a need for executive sessions, which is an exception to the open meetings law, but that would be something to be addressed in the future, based on the nature of the task force, I'm not certain if that is something you would need to be worried about.
Mr. Rees added an additional item, which is akin to the open meetings law, the Public Records Law. Most of you all know about this law being in the public sector. We do believe that the public records law will apply to the operations of the task force so we want each of you to be aware that the records generated with your work are subject, upon request, to public disclosure.
Date: 3-7-2019 Updated: 3-7-2019 Subject:
Issue identified 3-5-2019 by Murray Wennerlund while reviewing Mellissa Capello's Reconstruction with Elevation zero grant award.
Restore Louisiana Homeowners Program managed by the State of Louisiana OCD-DRU and IEM Inc. had created a "One Size Fits All" grant calculation spreadsheet to quickly identify if a homeowners grant award was greater than any duplication of benefits. This was used to process thousands of homeowners.
A flaw was discovered to only effect homeowners in Solution 2 Reconstruction that use any federal assistance or funds that are considered duplicative to the HUD CDBG-DR grant. Homeowners that used Flood Insurance (NFIP), Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) funds or SBA Disaster Loans may have incurred costs not recognized by the programs first grant calculator.
The initial screening calculator used by OCD-DRU and IEM assumed the home was to be elevated less than 3 feet. When select homeowners reported elevation costs covering 3' 1" or more the program did nothing to adjust the original grant award calculator. Homeowners were required to follow HUD elevation policy published December 2016 which required them to elevation to no less than base flood elevation plus 2 feet (BEF+2').
This requirement in most cases added 10's of thousands of dollars to the actual cost but are not reflected in the eGrant Award calculator.
In Action Plan Amendment 9 voted and passed July 13, 2018 by the RLHP Task Force included a table to adjust the grant award costs to homeowners that required elevation. The Elevation Allowance Table for RLHP Repair/Reconstruction Projects listed on page 29 of the RLHP Manual version 5.1 identifies what the program will offer the homeowner in additional grant funds to elevate their homes to match HUD elevation requirements.
The issue become very apparent and clear when a homeowner uses the State of Louisiana OCD-DRU Solution 2 Reconstruction and Elevation Allowance calculator using price per square foot change for elevation above 3'.
Home Square Footage: 1,771.78
Reconstruction cost estimated by old grant screening process offers $108 per square foot which includes elevation up to 3'.
$108 * 1,771.78 = $191,352.24 Material / Labor.
The program adds 20% for contractor overhead to the reconstruction costs.
20% Overhead: $191,352.24 + $38,270.45 = $229,622.69
The state then deducts any and all Duplication of Benefits.
Let's say the homeowner has over the first screening amount in DOB.
$253,439.33 DOB - Reconstruction costs $229,622.69 = Grant Award using first screening calculator -$23,816.64.
The RLHP grant award calculator would show that the homeowner was over the total grant award by $23,816.64 and the state would simply list them as a Zero award and stop the grant process.
Now let's take the real world numbers and costs and apply them to a calculator developed by the state for Reconstruction and Elevation homeowners.
The difference is now the elevation costs are included in the reconstruction estimate section of the grant award.
In the case of our 1,771.78 sqft home our elevation allowance according to APA 9 and the RLHP Manual 5.1 (Dec. 2018) the homeowner would be awarded $34.28 + 20% overhead if elevating above 6'.
So the $108 + 20% figure used in the first calculator does not apply because the homeowner is elevating above the 3' limit this calculator placed on all homeowners.
$108 + $34.28 = $142.28 per sqft + 20% ($28.46) overhead = $170.74.
If the original calculator used the actual costs the homeowners new grant award would be as follows.
$170.74 * 1,771.78 = $302,513.72
The original DOB would still be $253,439.33
The final grant award would then be, $302,513.72 - $253,439.33 = $49,074.39
In this case, the homeowner required to reconstruct their home elevated over 6' incurred an additional cost of $49,074.39 which the original one size fits all calculator did not take into account the elevation allowances that are offered.
Each of the estimated 41 homeowners in Solution 2 Reconstruction and Elevation need to have the same calculation.
The state created the "Solution 2 Reconstruction and Elevation Allowance calculator using price per square foot change for elevation above 3 feet" and applied it to homeowners Feb. 12, 2019.
We feel that the state owes it to the homeowners that did everything right by applying to the SBA and taking the SBA loan, NFIP and ICC funds and followed FEMA FVL and HUD Elevation requirements. They did follow the program to perfection, it's just the program failed to calculate their real costs of reconstruction and elevation.
Date: 3-5-2019 Updated: 3-5-2019 Subject:
Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 (PL 115-254, Division D) ("DRRA")
Input Requested: Top Five DOB and DRRA Implementation Issues to Address in Forthcoming Guidance:
Date: 3-4-2019 Updated: 3-4-2019 Subject:
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Date: 12-30-2018 Updated: 3-4-2019 Subject: How To Research
It is suspected that the Restore Louisiana Task Force violated Louisiana State Public Meeting Laws and / or has approved an action plan amendment without discussing the action plan with the Restore Louisiana Homeowners Task Force.
NOTES: Currently we have a document request that is being delayed by the state that will disclose if a public meeting did take place or if the OCD-DRU did not request the task force to read, review and approve Action Plan Amendment 10.
THIS POST HAS NOT BEEN EDITED AS OF 3-2-2019 TO INCLUDE RESOURCES AND RESEARCH.
Restore Louisiana 2016 Floods Public Laws 114-223, 114-254 and 115-31
Comite Diversion Canal Project Public Law 115–123
HUD allocated virtually all funding for unmet needs and established administrative requirements via two Federal Register notices.
----------- NOTES _________
I received a Federal Registry notice of HUD approving the states Renters Assistance program for $40 million.
The notice of the federal registry post was received Feb. 12, 2019 three days before the Restore Louisiana Task Force was to vote on the change.
The $40 million in rental assistance allocations was granted and approved by HUD and officially on Feb. 19, 2019 the day which the state published the APA 11 for viewing before the public comment period is open.
It appears that parts of the APA 11 were actually submitted in APA 10.
When many of you requested a copy of APA 10 most of you were told by the states DOA legal department that is overseeing the OCD-DRU that APA 10 was renamed to APA 11.
That was a false statement and can be verified by visiting the Action Plans posted for the Grant Floods. You will now see APA 10 is published but they claim it is pending approval.
1. Restore Louisiana Task Force had a meeting and approved APA 10 without public notice of the meeting which violates the states Public Meeting Laws.
2. Restore Louisiana Task Force voted on an action plan that was moving more than $8 million in federal assistance and did not offer the Action Plan to the public for comment.
3. The state violated HUD policy for notice to the public regarding action plans.
4. The state did not enforce state public meeting laws.
Date: 3-2-2019 Updated: 3-2-2019 Subject:
The Department of Housing and Urban Development was established in 1965 by the Department of Housing and Urban Development Act. HUD is the principal federal agency responsible for programs concerned with the nation's housing needs, fair housing opportunities, and improvement and development of the nation's communities. HUD provides the main source of funding for Louisiana's recovery from hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike and Isaac; and the March and August flooding events.
Common HUD terms are as follows:
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, initially created by Presidential Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978 and implemented by two Executive Orders on April 1, 1979. The agency's primary purpose is to coordinate the response to a disaster that has occurred in the United States and that overwhelms the resources of local and state authorities. The governor of the state in which the disaster occurs must declare a state of emergency and formally request from the president that FEMA and the federal government respond to the disaster.
Common FEMA terms are as follows:
Louisiana State Agency Terms
Income Level Terms
State Program Specific Terms:
1. Definitions (Page 15, LRHP Dec. 2018 version 5.1)
Act of Donation: a form of property transfer without exchange or payment.
Applicant: all homeowners who are owner-occupants of a damaged property are applicants.
CDBG-DR: Community Development Block Grant- Disaster Recovery Program.
Common Area Under Roof: The total area under the common roof is primarily interior, conditioned spaces, and for single-story homes, equal to the footprint of the house. The term is also synonymous with the eligible area. In addition, exterior spaces such as detached porches and garages are not considered in the eligible area.
Construction Technical Advisors (CTA): Program staff members who explain to Solution 2 applicants the Scope of Work eligible under the applicant's award, the applicable Program requirements, and the obligations of the applicant and the applicant's homebuilding contractor. Construction Technical Advisors do not provide any construction services or any advice related to construction methods. No warranties or representations regarding construction or repair of the damaged property are provided by such advisors.
Disability: RLHP defines disability, for purposes of the Program, consistent with federal law under The Social Security Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §423(d), The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §12102(1)-(3), and in accordance with HUD regulations at 24 CFR §§5.403 and 891.505.
Duplication of Benefits (DOB): A duplication of benefit is the receipt of funding from multiple sources for the same purpose. The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief Act (Stafford Act) prohibits any person, business concern or other entity from receiving financial assistance from CDBG Disaster Recovery funding with respect to any part of the loss resulting from a major disaster as to which he/she has already received financial assistance under any other program or from insurance or any other sources. It is an amount determined by the Program that may result in the reduction of an award value.
Grant Execution Date: Date that assistance is approved for the project.
Habitable: A habitable dwelling unit is one that is structurally sound, weather tight and in good repair.
HCDA: Housing and Community Development Act of 1974.
HUD: Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Low to Moderate Income (LMI) Household: A household is considered to be of low or moderate income if the household income (including income derived from assets) is at or below 80 percent of an area's median income. All income is based on the Area Median Income limits set annually by HUD for each parish or metropolitan statistical area.
Major/Severe damages: $8,000 or more of FEMA inspected real property damage or 1 foot or more of flood water on the first floor.
Manufactured home or Manufactured housing unit (MHU): For the purposes of this Program, references to manufactured homes more specifically refers to mobile homes. Manufactured housing that is of modular construction will be treated as stick- or site-built construction.
New Construction: A replacement home that substantially exceeds the original footprint by 20% or more on the existing lot (if permitted) or the construction of a new home in a new location.
NFIP: National Flood Insurance Program. When the Program refers to NFIP in the context of eligibility or duplication of benefits, the Program is referring to private and public flood insurance programs that cover structural repairs resulting from flood damages.
Reconstruction: Demolition and rebuilding of an existing structure based on the Program's building standards. Reconstructed property is built on the same footprint as the original structure and will not substantially exceed (limited to an increase of 20% or less) the square footage of the current or demolished structure. This requirement will subordinate to the local jurisdiction's building code requirements.
Rehabilitation: Repairs made to an existing structure based on the Program's building standards.
Subrogation: Repayment of duplicative assistance.
Date: 2-24-2019 Updated: 3-2-2019 Subject:
We have confirmed, you do not start work on your project until you are sent a Notice to Proceed.
Also, elevation is calculated after you accept your grant award and before you sign the closing on your grant award.
The 3 phases of claiming your grant,
2.) Closing: (Adding any unforeseen costs like elevation.)
3.) Final: signing when you are completed with your project.
We have had reports of CTA's telling homeowners to go ahead and start work after accepting the grant.
This is not the correct procedure and it has been confirmed to be incorrect advice by the Program Manager Ted Lemcke on Fri. 3-1-2019 at 4:16pm.
We have had Roberts and a select number of CTA's not explaining or giving poor advice to homeowners regarding additional costs which are unforeseen unmet needs. Let's be sure you all understand that if you are adding elevation allowances to your grant that process is to be finalized by numbers before you sign your closing. Then, once you and the state are good with the grant numbers you sign your closing, the program issues your NTP and then the program changes your grant award to match that of what you agreed on prior to closing.
Please follow the Dec. 28, 2018 Reconstruction SOP to understand in detail what your CTA's should be telling you.
Below is a copy of the email from the IEM Program Manager / Executive
The Program issues a notice to proceed immediately after the Applicant executes their grant agreement, which marks the date in which a Solution 2 Applicant has to start construction within 180 days. In a practical sense, depending on the time of closing, etc., the NTP normally comes within 24 hours. Therefore, there is little to no risk for an applicant to start activities once they have fully executed their grant agreement at the closing. The risk for an Applicant is starting construction prior to the execution of their grant.
In regard to your comments on the elevation component, for applicants where an elevation applies, you are correct in the sequence you have captured. We must process the elevation portion of the overall grant as a change order following the execution of the grant to ensure the grant "books are balanced" in the Restore system of record. As you may recall, this is why we separated the reconstruction and elevation components on the new calculation form we discussed at the last consult meeting we had at the housing center. That is to ensure the applicant knows what the total grant award is and the order in which they are issued via the closing and change order process.
IEM Program Executive
Date: 3-2-2019 Updated: 3-2-2019 Subject:
From: Sawyer, Paul [mailto:Paul.Sawyer@mail.house.gov]
Sent: Friday, July 14, 2017 10:59 AM
To: Johnny Bradberry
Subject: Cong. Graves letter to Gov Edwards re: Comite River Diversion Canal
Dear Members of the Restore Louisiana Task Force,
Please find the attached letter from Cong. Garret Graves to Governor John Bel Edwards regarding the Comite River Diversion Canal. If you have any questions or would like to speak to Cong. Graves about this or any other matter, please let us know.
Paul Sawyer | Chief of Staff
Office of Congressman Garret Graves (LA-06)
From: Adam Knapp
Sent: Friday, July 14, 2017 12:18 PM
To: Sawyer, Paul
Cc: RepGG@mail.house.gov; Johnny Bradberry; Shawn Wilson; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Pat Forbes
Subject: RE: Cong. Graves letter to Gov Edwards re: Comite River Diversion Canal
I asked questions at today's Restore LA meeting about this letter and project. Two specific questions.
1) Can CDBG and HMGP be used for the Comite project?
2) Can we as a Flood Task Force direct our infrastructure subcommittee to determine the steps necessary to provide funding to the Comite project, and set in motion those steps should we be able to reallocate the CDBG funds later, or allocate the available HMGP funds in creative ways to complete the project?
The answer to #1 from staff was, on HMGP, no, it cannot be used according to the FEMA letter from two months ago. The answer on CDBG was yes but no more than $250,000 in USACE project match, according to the Federal Register that set further restrictions on the funds above and beyond any guidance in the Congressional Appropriation language itself. There are other restrictions from HUD that currently may prevent the ability for CDBG to be used, including the LMI restrictions, a requirement that allocations are able to show their direct impact on homeowner recovery, and that the projects being funded will be fully completed with the sources of funds provided.
The answer on #2 was that it would seem like a good initiative for our Infrastructure subcommittee to dig into the costs for the project and the restrictions on funds to seek a creative solution, if there is one to be found. It would seem like the Infrastructure committee of the Task Force can evaluate how each of the restrictions on HMGP or CDBG could be removed or worked through to enable access to those sources of funds for this project. It would be useful also for the project to have an updated cost analysis, as well as a reevaluation of the cost-benefit of the project as new, non-USACE sources are considered/provided.
We also heard from Larry Bankston's presentation that $31M is identified toward the $45M need for the next major project component for utilities and bridge projects. That immediate gap of ~$15M might be a good starting point for our Infrastructure Task Force to work on sources of funds.
I think we may also need to consider federal action to change guidance for HUD and FEMA that they are given direction on the use of these two sources of funds as eligible for covering project costs in collaboration with USACE appropriations.
Thank you for your letter and push for this important project. I hope our committee can provide leadership toward its completion.
- - -
President and CEO, BRAC
Date: 2-25-2019 Updated: 2-25-2019 Subject:
From: Adam Knapp
Sent: Friday, April 13, 2018 7:31 AM
To: Pat Forbes
Cc: Don Pierson
Subject: Restore LA TF resolution - Water ED
Attachments: 20180412 Restore LA TF resolution - Water ED.docx
Pat – Here's a quick concept for a resolution per our conversation to express the support of the task force for the new LWCA to embrace the use of the state's research centers in manners that boost the scientific and technical capabilities of Louisiana's water research centers with its funding for watershed floodplain management. Does this work?
Attachment: 20180412 Restore LA TF resolution - Water ED.docx
Proposed Resolution of the Restore LA Task Force
Prioritize investment to advance watershed-based floodplain science in Louisiana
Whereas, Louisiana seeks to create a safer state for its citizens who are living in proximity to water,
Whereas, Louisiana will invest billions of dollars of CDBG-DR and HMGP resources for the protection, sustainability and resilience of the state through advanced floodplain management;
Whereas, Louisiana has invested and is continuing to invest significant dollars in creating organizations such as The Water Institute of the Gulf and university centers that build the state's strength as a unique, global leader in water management;
Whereas, Louisiana has an opportunity to develop capabilities through this Louisiana's nonprofit research institutes and universities to advance the science, knowledge and capabilities of Louisiana for Louisiana that develop cutting edge, innovative capabilities that can become tools to help the world, and position its institutes to be more competitive for additional federal and international work;
Whereas, Louisiana is positioned to be a national and international leader in watershed-based floodplain management;
Whereas, the state should advance as a top strategic priority the scientific advancement of water-related innovation for Louisiana in a manner that also respects that non-profit research centers and universities should avoid direct competition with the private sector;
Therefore, be it resolved that the Restore Louisiana Task Force strongly encourages that the newly formed Louisiana Watershed Coordinated Agencies (LWCA) seek to further Louisiana's competitiveness in watershed based floodplain management by prioritizing the use of their state and federal resources at Louisiana's independent, not-for-profit, scientific research institutes such as The Water Institute of the Gulf and at other, similar water management research centers that currently exist at its public and private research universities. Further, these state and federal investments should seek to leverage their independent scientific and technical advice and avoid competition with the private sector for capabilities including but not limited to:
Further, the Task Force encourages quarterly or semi-annual public reporting to the Task Force, Governor, Legislature, and online to demonstrate progress toward the goals stated above
From: Lori Dupont
Sent: Monday, April 16, 2018 10:28 AM
To: Adam Knapp
Cc: Jonathan LeMaire
Were you planning to revise the resolution? If you would rather our office handle the revisions, can you send me the resolution in Word format?
From: Adam Knapp
Sent: Monday, April 16, 2018 1:37 PM
To: Lori Dupont
Cc: Jonathan LeMaire
Subject: RE: Resolution
Attachments: 20180412 Restore LA TF resolution - Water ED.docx
I actually was wondering who was doing it. I didn't take notes on how we worded the edits. I proposed one way to word it, then the Superintendent proposed a different way to do it, and then we voted and I wasn't clear what we voted on doing in the amended language. Attached is the original resolution although I think the printed version had incorporated some clean up edits that Pat did, so he might actually have the latest and greatest one.
Date: 2-25-2019 Updated: 2-25-2019 Subject:
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