The Sun Herald, 9/12/7

The federal government is refusing to reimburse Harrison County nearly $12 million for removing debris from Hurricane Katrina, citing concerns about the quality and cost of the work.

FEMA has concluded that Harrison County paid “unreasonably high” costs for clearing storm-damaged trees and didn’t adequately document the work, according to a letter from a state official obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.

FEMA’s refusal to pay for about $11.8 million in debris removal costs is the result of an audit questioning the rates that Harrison County paid contractors for the work. FEMA also found discrepancies in bills that contractors submitted for debris removal.