Oct. 04--LINCOLN -- A 25-cent overpayment on a 2009 grant to the Lincoln Fire Department that previously went unnoticed nearly delayed approval of new federal funding.
Yes, 25 cents.
In 2009, the federal government approved an Assistance to Firefighters grant for $39,506 to provide a new exhaust system in the fire truck garage bays at the fire department. The city spent exactly $39,505.75 to install the system; the remaining 25 cents was not returned.
Last week, Lincoln Fire Chief Mark Miller was finalizing paperwork to accept a new, $32,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but he was told that until the 25 cents was returned, the current grant would be held up.
"It was just paperwork, and they had to close that grant out," he said.
So, for the better part of three days, Miller had to track down verification on all money spent during the 2009 project.
That was a couple of years ago, so it took a little bit of an effort to track it all down," he said.
Then he had to ask Mayor Keith Snyder to write a refund check for the amount owed to FEMA.
"Before I mailed it, I faxed everything to them and made sure they had it," Miller said. "I was not going to take any chances."
Money expected in weeks
Miller has received the approval letter and expects to get the new grant money in about three weeks. It will be used for software and hardware for fire department inspections and for the Building and Safety Office.
"We are just glad to be able to get the money, but I never expected to have to put that much effort into verifying 25 cents," said Miller.
Calls to FEMA for comment likely were not going to be returned "due to the lapse in federal funding," according to a voicemail message at the agency's headquarters.
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