Federal Report: Waterloo fails to comply - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Federal Report: Waterloo fails to comply

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

A recent Federal report claims Waterloo failed to comply with FEMA requests during a recent audit.

The audit was conducted in response to the 2016 floods and says, in failing to comply, the City of Waterloo jeopardized $1.9 million dollars in funding.

The City has since complied with all requests.

The 15-page document details the Homeland Security Office of Inspector General's audit findings. The audit report was published on April 9th, more than a year after the audit process began.

The report written by the Assistant Inspector General for Audits, reads:

"The City did not provide all requested information and explanations necessary to perform our review; therefore, we were unable to asses whether the City's policies, procedures, and business practices were adequate to account for FEMA Public Assistance grant funds properly. The City's failure to cooperate with a Federal audit put approximately $1.9 million dollars in potential FEMA grant funding at risk of being deobligated or not funded."
 

Following the release of the report Waterloo City Council members Margaret Klein, Steve Schmitt, and Bruce Jacobs called for a special council meeting to discuss what happened.

"There is no excuse for this. I accept the report from the Office of Inspector General, I do. I do believe this is a huge stumble and I can't help, but think where have we found the money?" said Klein, during Tuesday's special meeting.

Mayor Quentin Hart and Chief Financial Officer Michelle Weidner don't deny the findings.

"The City of Waterloo did a damn good job with regards to the 2016 floods. As Mayor for the city of Waterloo, and the gap in communication, I take full responsibility, but this city did a damn good job. We will make sure it doesn't happen in the future. We also needed to put measures in place to ensure this won't ever happen again," said Mayor Hart.

Mayor Hart pointed to short staffing in the finance office as a major reason for the downfall, due in part to a vote by the council in April 2016 that denied filling an open spot in the finance office.

Council member Jerome Amos recalled what he said was Weidner's pleads for help, going unanswered.

"We need to start listening to the city staff, who are professionals when they tell us they have needs and not just look at the dollars," said Amos.

Since the initial audit, the city has provided all necessary documents and made changes to ensure this doesn't happen again.

"Everything that we are eligible to receive, the city has submitted that paperwork and it has been approved by the Iowa Department of Homeland Security, that's documented. That has been approved," said Mayor Hart.

A letter from the state to the city ensures that as of March 28, 2018, the city has submitted all necessary documents and no further actions are required from the city.

Although the document lists a total of $1.9 million in FEMA funding, the mayor says the city only needs a maximum of $1.1 million to cover the costs of the 2016 floods.

The mayor says they will receive all necessary funding. 

To read the complete report on the Office of Inspector General's website.

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