Proper Benefit Cost Analysis Key in Mitigation Grant Application
4) Emergency Management Costs include a range of disaster response and recovery costs that may be incurred by communities during and immediately after a disaster. Disasters commonly result in a range of emergency management costs for affected communities. These include the costs of emergency operations centers, evacuation and/or rescue, security, temporary emergency protective measures, debris removal, and other costs associated with response and recovery. If a mitigation project under evaluation significantly reduces these costs, then the benefits should be counted. One example is the belowground WasteWater Lift Stations in New Orleans damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Damage to eight lift stations resulted in the federal government funding pumping and hauling wastewater for several years (Category B Grants). The hazard mitigation was determined to be cost effective. The future benefits were based on federal benefits that avoid costs by the federal government that will not have to be paid because of the mitigation. The repair and other avoided costs are the only benefits that were used in determining the cost effectiveness of repair-related mitigation. FEMA funded $279 million worth of work to replace eight lift stations with the same function and capacity, relocating them above the flood plain and the flood of record, on their original sites as cost-effective hazard mitigation measures to avoid future costs to the federal government. More information can be found at www.fema.gov.
Additional considerations for BCAs are just now coming into use. Recipients must remember to document and support environmental, social and other non- traditional benefits.
Environmental Benefits — for acquisition/relocation projects, environmental benefits (or ecosystem services) for a parcel being acquired may be included in certain situations.
Social Benefits — for the cost of mental health treatment and lost productivity for BCA modules that did not already include a value for this calculation (i.e., flood, hurricane and wind).
Non-Traditional Benefits —other benefits now applicable to certain mitigation projects traditionally outside of BCA guidelines include:
Volunteer Costs —projects that will result in future reduction in volunteer costs can now include this benefit. For example, costs for volunteers who fight floods or do sandbagging around a water treatment plant can be included as a benefit for a mitigation project that reduces or eliminates the...