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St. Louis yet to turn in paperwork for FEMA hangar reimbursement

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The city paid more than $800,000 to get this hanger ready for hurricane evacuees that ended up not coming. (UPI file photo)

By Maria Hickey, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay complained earlier this month that FEMA has not reimbursed the city for a shelter it set up for Hurricane Katrina victims.

But federal and state officials say it's the city that's holding up the process; they add they're waiting for paperwork to be submitted.

On Aug. 2, Slay held a news conference to discuss the latest on the cleanup from storms in July that caused the largest power outage. When asked when FEMA would send the check to help reimburse for debris cleanup, he responded: "Based on our experience with the Katrina effort, when we put up the welcome center out at at the airport, we're still waiting for some reimbursement there we haven't received. We are waiting patiently."

But officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Washington say they sent more than $886,000 to the State Emergency Management Agency in April to cover the costs the City incurred in getting the hangar ready.

FEMA spokeswoman Melissa Janssen says St. Louis will get the money when it turns in receipts and invoices showing the breakdown of costs.

"SEMA, the State Emergency Management Agency, has been working with the city since the money was allocated to get that documentation together," Janssen said.

SEMA spokeswoman Susan Stonner says the state is still waiting to receive all the documents from the city. She says St. Louis did get about $24,000 for the shelter costs in May. Stonner did say the process is time-consuming

A spokesman with the mayor's office did not immediately return calls this afternoon.

FEMA asked the city to set up a shelter for 2,000 people shortly after Hurricane Katrina but never sent the storm's victims to the site.

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