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Wendy Reuer, Published May 17 2011

FEMA wants money back from Cass County

FARGO – Although the Federal Emergency Management Agency already approved and cut a check to Cass County for sand used in the 2009 flood fight, FEMA now wants that money back.

The sand costs are more than $423,000.

County Engineer Keith Berndt told the Cass County Commission on Monday that FEMA alerted him of the “re-determination” last week.

In 2009, due to an immediate need, the county reimbursed residents for sand instead of paying the vendor directly, Berndt said.

Because individuals paid the vendor, FEMA now says those costs are not reimbursable to the county, Berndt said. Therefore, it wants Cass County to return the money.

In 2010 and 2011, the county was able to buy sand directly from the vendors and then transport it to areas in need. Berndt said he believes FEMA reimbursement of 2010 and 2011 sand costs will not be an issue.

No formal action was taken at Monday’s commission meeting. Staff was asked to contact state legislators to request FEMA reconsider its opinion.

“I would hope we ­wouldn’t just accept it, roll over and play dead,” Commissioner Vern Bennett said.

In other business:

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530