By DENISE GRANT
The Buffalo District of the Army Corps of Engineers says it will need to hire an analyst to interpret its own budget for the Blanchard River flood-control study.
Andrew Kornacki, a Buffalo District public affairs specialist, said the analyst will be asked to work over the weekend to answer The Courier’s questions about budget figures.
Through a Freedom of Information Act request made in April, the newspaper requested a copy of the budget that clearly explains each expenditure, without the use of coding.
In July 2013, the newspaper had requested an itemized list of expenditures for the study. At the time, about $6 million had been spent on the study. The total is expected to reach $9 million by 2016 when the study is completed. The corps and the Hancock County commissioners are splitting the cost.
In January, the corps responded with two documents, totaling 64 pages, itemizing those expenditures. The newspaper determined it was impossible to report on the budget accurately and thoroughly due to the use of coding throughout the documents.
The Courier then asked for a copy of the budget without coding. In a letter received by The Courier on Thursday, the district said a search of its documents and computer files “indicates there are no records responsive to your request currently maintained in the (Buffalo) district.”
But Kornacki offered to work with the newspaper on questions about the document.
Kornacki said Friday an analyst will be asked to provide the total amount spent on labor, contracts, both paid and obligated, travel and overhead costs.
The corps on Friday also provided 130 pages of public input it has gathered on the project.
On June 11, the newspaper, through another Freedom of Information Act request, asked for copies of all public input gathered during the flood-control study.
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