By Ben Kleppinger
12:18 PM EDT, March 12, 2013
STANFORD — The city of Stanford has to correct and clarify receipts submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency or risk losing some of the more than $100,000 in relief it received for the 2009 ice storm cleanup.
Mayor Bill Miracle told city council members last week that FEMA is sending back ice-storm paperwork submitted by former city clerk Sandy Gooch and former Stanford Fire Chief Kenny McDaniel because it "can't make heads or tails of it."
"There was a lot of paperwork that was put together to get reimbursed for a lot of expense," he said. "It's taken FEMA four years to notify us and get back to us, which is kind of out there, but there is a possibility if we can't get these records in order — matching checks with receipts and all this kind of stuff — we may have to reimburse the money."
"It was due to the record-keeping and the book-work that was done in '09," he added. "I'm just telling you flat-out that's what it is."
Miracle said after the city cleaned up damage from the massive 2009 ice storm that devastated Kentucky, FEMA reimbursed Stanford for 90 percent of around $112,000 in expenses, which works out to a little more than $100,000.
Stanford can still receive the remaining 10 percent as well, but not until FEMA is satisfied with the records showing what the city spent.
Miracle and City Clerk Denise Pike said Gooch began the paperwork for the reimbursement following the ice storm. After Gooch was fired in late 2010, McDaniel took over the work, they said.
Councilman Scottie Ernst asked if Gooch or McDaniel, who retired in January, could be brought in to help align the paperwork.
"We're not going to do that," Miracle said. "We're going to work on it ourselves."
Pike said she and Fire Chief Scott Maples will be going over the returned documentation and attempting to organize it to FEMA's liking.
"Neither one of us had anything to do with it, so we've got to start trying to (sift) through all of it," she said.
Pike said a FEMA representative told her "nothing matches" and there are "little bitty copies of checks" that are essentially unreadable.
If the city can't bring the records up to snuff with FEMA's requirements, it could potentially be on the hook to return some of the money it received.
"I don't think we'll lose all of it by any means," Miracle said. "I think once we get the packet back from FEMA, it may take some time, but I think … we can make it work OK."