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  • Surplus FEMA funds??

    Can anyone give me some Ideas about how to handle surplus grant funds. an example being our TOG came in cheaper than what anticipated. Can we buy additional or suplemental gear i.e.goggles gloves hoods etc. or apply those funds to other grant areas that came in OVER what we had anticipated? I'm sure that additional or variations to equipment would need some sort of approval at the federal level.

  • #2
    From past experience you can use funds from savings to offset additional over runs on other equipment. What remains left over would be considered excess funds. Excess funds up to $5,000 can purchase additional items within the scope of the project. Anything over $5,000 would go to an approved FP program.

    In 2004 I had submitted a FP request to use $180 (over the $5,000) to purchase a video tape. I recieved the answer above. After allocating funds to the over runs the excess funds were $3,900 vs. $5,180. It must not have been an issue, they closed out the grant about 1 month ago.

    Since what you want to do would be considered PPE, it should not be an issue. Talk to your FPS, that way you CYA and follow their suggestions.
    Last edited by onebugle; 12-05-2006, 05:23 PM.

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    • #3
      Up to $4999 in federal funds you can do practically anything, including purchase more of what you applied for or as mentioned offset overages in other areas.

      Ex: Applied 50 sets TOG @ $2K each = $100k ($95k fed, $5k local @ 5%)
      Applied 10 SCBA @ $4K = $40k ($38k fed, $2k local @ 5%)

      So approved fed share on the whole project is $138k.

      TOG comes in at $1800/set ($1710 fed, $90 local) = $90k ($85,500 fed, $4500 local)
      SCBA comes in at $4600 ($4370 fed, $230 local) = $46k ($38k fed, $8k local)

      You are left with $9500 in fed share from the PPE. The DHS approved way to handle this is to pay the extra $8k in local on the SCBA, then reimburse yourself the $4999 allowed per the PG. The other $3001 either goes to FP or back.

      In the above if you just had a TOG project then you could use the $4999 to buy more TOG, or just hoods, boots, gloves. The stuff that falls apart quicker than the coat and pants.
      Brian P. Vickers
      www.vickersconsultingservices.com
      Emergency Services Consulting
      Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
      Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

      Comment


      • #4
        Could I get some information on this. Possible a web address Thanks
        D.NELSON
        NREMTP,NAEMT, FF2
        Horry County Fire/Rescue
        Myrtle Beach, SC.
        FRATERNAL ORDER OF PARAMEDICS

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        • #5
          www.firegrantsupport.com, there's some info in the FAQ section for AFG. Also the Program Guidance has some of that info in there.
          Brian P. Vickers
          www.vickersconsultingservices.com
          Emergency Services Consulting
          Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
          Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

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          • #6
            We were awarded SCBA's and an Air Fill Station in 2005 AFG. We had approximately $2000 in excess funds and were given permission to use the funds to build a room for the Air Fill Station. The information we were given was that if the funds were to be used in conjunction with your award it is ok, up to $5000, but you need to get approval first.

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            • #7
              Approval on the $4999 in excess isn't needed anymore, just proper documentation to back it up is fine for the site audit or if asked for it. Saves time & effort on the FPS side so they can keep on keepin' on.
              Brian P. Vickers
              www.vickersconsultingservices.com
              Emergency Services Consulting
              Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
              Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm still hearing about some horror stories about departments who spent saved or excess funds ( 2005) within ( supposedly) their project areas and upon closeout firegrantsupport is disallowing some expenditures. IE:


                1.) Dept. got awarded 10 portable radios, saved cost enough to buy an addtional and did so. Now being asked to refund the 11 radio.

                2.) Dept aprroved for 22 sets of gear and bought 4 extra sets ( no roster to support the extra guys though) and were asked to refund the 4 sets to DHS.

                I don't have all the complete details but, this goes to show that they can and do question these items even though it appears to be a leigitimate and allowable use not needing permission. I would still caution departments to be extra careful in this area and at least have a conversation and follow up email with a FPS BEFORE expending anything extra.
                Kurt Bradley
                Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
                " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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                • #9
                  Even though the rules allow you to spend up to $5000 of excess funds in your grant area, conflicts arise on who is interpretting the rules. It's easier to send in an amendment, to CYA, and recieve the stock answer you did not have to do it.

                  With less than $1500 in excess funds after paying for the new brush truck, I sent off an amendment to use the funds to purchase new radios for the vehicle.

                  Thier answer:

                  Mr. XXXXXX, an amendment request is not needed to use up to $5,000 in excess funds to purchase additional items within the scope of your grant. After you have completed the purchase of all items originally requested in your grant, you may use up to $5,000 in excess funds to purchase additional equipment. Please call XXXXXXX at 703-605-XXXX if you have any questions. Thank you.
                  What does this provide? Documentation if problems arise in the future.

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                  • #10
                    What if they reduced the TOG to their levels and you use the cost savings from another item to make up the difference they reduced you on? Is that legal?
                    Always confident, ever vigilant.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      No, the only exception to the excess funds is that if you are reduced in quantity or in price you cannot use the excess funds to purchase additional units of what was reduced in quantity, or make up the price difference if that was reduced.

                      So if the dept Kurt is talking about was reduced or only allowed per PG to purchase 10 radios, then that's why they're catching grief about the 11th. Or if they didn't buy that 11th one with the right matching. The $4999 is the max fed share, meaning that if your match is 5% then if you want to spend the $4999 in fed funds you must spend at least $250 in local.

                      The easiest way to admin an award is lay out a spreadsheet of what you were awarded per unit, what the max fed share is, what the min local match is. Then when you take a bid, apply the matching %s to that. So if you were awarded for $5000/SCBA at 5% match, it's $4750 max fed, $250 min local per unit. If your bid comes back at $4500, then the max fed is $4275/unit, $225min.

                      Award amounts are per unit, per quantity, not a package deal. Improper calculations are digging some deep holes for people so make sure you have the right person at the helm. A major city is going to owe nearly 6 figures to DHS on a 2005 award because the person handling it not only didn't know the fire service but the basic rules of the program.
                      Brian P. Vickers
                      www.vickersconsultingservices.com
                      Emergency Services Consulting
                      Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
                      Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        ok we were approved for turnout gear(12 sets) (no reduction) (significant savings on actual costs) SCBA (6 units) (reduction from $5300 to $5000) Rescue tools (with reduction) radios (5 portables)(no reduction) ( savings on actual costs) and a Fixed lighting system for apparatus (no reduction). now the question is can we use the money we saved on turnout gear and radios and apply it to the lighting system or additional rescue or radio equipment? or possibly buying additional PPE like goggles fo the whole Dept etc.?
                        Last edited by falcon325; 12-09-2006, 01:35 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The rule for excess funds in the PG states:

                          (1)Grantees may use as much as $5,000 to continue or expand the activities for which they received the award. For example, if a grantee has funds remaining after completion of the activities listed in their grant agreement, the grantee may use up to $5,000 of the excess funds to purchase other eligible items without seeking our approval.
                          Not as black and white as it appears. Alot of gray areas that Kurt & Brian have posted. The key is, if you are not sure what you want to do is legit, send an email/amendment clearly explaining what you want to do up the chain of command for a determination. Better to get a yea or nea before hand, than end up returning funds.

                          The funds can be used towards the lighting system to purchase additional portable lights, cords etc. and/or can be used to cover cost over runs on the initial system.

                          You can not purchase additional radios per the PG:

                          Under the AFG,DHS will limit funding for portable radios to the number of seated positions based on the applicant ’s firefighting vehicle fleet unless otherwise justified in the narrative and only fund the number of
                          mobile radios required to equip the vehicle inventory listed in the application.
                          But you could purchase spare batteries, cases etc.

                          Using the funds towards rescue equipment will be determined in what was reduced quantity or cost. If quantity was reduced probably not. If pricing was cut, the excess funds can not be used to make up cost over runs, but you would be able to purchase more equipment.

                          Additional PPE like goggles etc can be purchased.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The goggles you could buy with no problem, same with buying a larger/better/more expensive lighting system for the truck. I've done similar this year already with some items that are coming back more than expected because of good sized price jumps. Just have to remember to run the math right so that the overall project still has you spending at least your matching.
                            Brian P. Vickers
                            www.vickersconsultingservices.com
                            Emergency Services Consulting
                            Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
                            Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Answer I got from FEMA

                              Our company received an award this year for the first time, for protective equipment. We had the dollor amount and quantity reduced from 50 to 40 sets of PPE.

                              One of the items we requested were backsupport braces. After review of the new NIOSH Regs, we decided to apply for an amendment on this line request. ALSO - After getting pricing we found we could purchase the 40 sets of gear below the award amount. We wanted to purchase additional PPE.

                              Both of these request went to AFG in the same amendment. Received a phone call from our contract administrator the next week. After talking to him, he informed me that we didn't need to file an amendment for either one. This was based on the fact that the request was for less then $5,000.00.
                              We didn't need to purchase the BSB. We could use the money from that cost savings as well as the extra money after purchasing the initial 40 sets of PPE to purchase more PPE up to the amount of dollars awarded. He said because the amendment was below the dollar amount needed for an amendment he was not going to approve the request, due to it not being needed. ????
                              I asked him to put that in writing when he responded back on the amendment request - we didn't need to purchase the BSB and the money savings could be used for more PPE.

                              That was last week, we have not gotten a writen responce back yet.

                              Comment

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