Audit: FEMA should not have spent $12 million in Cedar Rapids - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Audit: FEMA should not have spent $12 million in Cedar Rapids

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CEDAR RAPIDS (AP) - The Federal Emergency Management Agency failed to follow its own disaster relief guidelines in deciding to replace four buildings in Cedar Rapids damaged in the 2008 flood, costing taxpayers $12 million in unnecessary spending, according to a federal audit report released Friday.

The report by the Office of Inspector General in the Department of Homeland Security said the city's Main Library, two buildings at the city's Animal Control Facility and a park maintenance shop should have been repaired instead of replaced.

The audit found repairs would have cost $8.6 million instead of the $20.6 million FEMA provided to construct new buildings.

The government is not seeking return of the $12 million it claims was spent in error because FEMA improperly approved the money and there is no evidence the city provided false or misleading information to FEMA.

The auditors, however, are recommending FEMA disallow the spending of more than $250,000 allowed in error for construction of the Animal Control Facility's main building.

The city is one of many local organizations and government agencies across the United States that have dealt with FEMA's practice of approving emergency funding only to later -- sometimes years later -- ask for the money back after auditors question the spending.

The University of Iowa and the Des Moines Water Works also have had to fight in the last few years to keep money FEMA initially approved and later tried to rescind.

By DAVID PITT, Associated Press. Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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