The New Orleans Sewerage And Water Board has been under fire since this summer. In August, some streets in New Orleans flooded and it was revealed that pumping stations were down.
Now the Feds are looking into the agency. They’re conducting an audit of money received to rebuild infrastructure that was damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
The agency that oversees drainage, sewer and water systems in New Orleans faces an audit of its spending of federal money received following Hurricane Katrina.
New Orleans news outlets report that the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General notified the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans of the planned audit in a letter. It was made public at a committee meeting Monday.
It says the audit is to determine whether the board spent and accounted for Federal Emergency Management Agency money in accordance with regulations and guidelines.
In statements Monday, the board and Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office characterized the audit as routine.
The Sewerage and Water Board has been the focus of criticism and scrutiny since August flooding revealed problems with the city’s storm drainage system.
If the Sewerage and Water Board is found to have spent and accounted money improperly, they could be forced to pay the money back. But this would not be the first time that the city of New Orleans had abused Katrina relief money.
New Orleans is taking federal taxpayers for a $2 billion ride in Hurricane Katrina spending, the inspector general who oversees the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Thursday, concluding that the city is charging the government for repairs that had nothing to do with the 2005 hurricane and flooding that devastated the Gulf Coast.
Auditors said New Orleans and FEMA struck a deal in 2015 to pay for sewage, water and street upgrades to a system that was already struggling before Hurricane Katrina, and whose repairs should have been borne by local taxpayers, not the federal government.
“This massive investment — representing almost $5,200 for every man, woman, and child in New Orleans — while perhaps sorely needed, is not eligible for a FEMA disaster grant because there is no evidence that the damage was caused as a direct result of the storms,” Acting Assistant Inspector General John E. McCoy II said in the new report.
Hurricane Katrina was a blessing for New Orleans’s leaders. They essentially had their wishlist checked off when American taxpayers paid to rebuild the city.
The bill is coming due for the Katrina related waste and abuse. The Sewerage and Water Board should hope that the Feds find nothing in this audit.