Gulf Coast communities complain that FEMA is dragging its feet

May 7, 2007
Reported by Associated Press

More than 20 months after Hurricane Katrina, many communities in Mississippi and Louisiana are still haggling with the Federal Emergency Management Agency over how much money the government will reimburse them for debris removal and infrastructure repairs.

FEMA says it audits all Katrina projects to root out waste and fraud.  Local officials, however, say the agency has needlessly dragged out the process and has not clearly defined what prices it considers reasonable.

Millions of dollars are at stake for cash-strapped communities still struggling to rebuild.  Some communities say that if FEMA does not reimburse their expenses, they may have to borrow money or raise taxes to cover debris-removal contracts.