FEMA denies Cedar Rapids demolition disposal funds

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — The federal government says it will not pay the city of Cedar Rapids $6.5 million for debris removal at a flood-damaged former meatpacking plant complex near the Cedar River.

The Sinclair complex has been owned by the city since 2007. It was flooded in 2008, deemed unsafe and demolished.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied reimbursement claiming the city could have accepted a lower bid for disposal of demolition debris and may have stacked the bidding process in favor of a local landfill.

Joe O’Hern, the city’s administrator for development services, says city officials did nothing wrong during bidding in 2010.

FEMA has paid the city about $5 million for the project which has cost about $18 million.

The city continues to dispute FEMA denial of another $3.5 million.

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