Flood Relief for Western Iowa on the Way
By Reps. Mary Ann Hanusa (Council Bluffs), Jon Jacobsen (Council Bluffs), and David Sieck (Glenwood)
This spring’s flooding along the Missouri River has presented great challenges to the people of western Iowa. But as Iowans, we know how to roll up our sleeves and rally around our communities in times of need. We have been proud to see neighbors helping neighbors during this difficult time. Thank you to all those who have been instrumental in the recovery efforts.
We also want to thank Governor Reynolds and her administration for their commitment to helping southwest Iowafamilies, businesses, and communities recover. State agencies like the Department of Homeland Security, and Emergency Management Services, the Iowa National Guard, and the DOT have been here since the start doing what they could to help Iowans in need.
At the Statehouse in Des Moines, those of us in the Legislature have worked closely with the Governor to help speed up the recovery and restoration here in southwest Iowa.
Restoring public facilities like flood protection systems, roads, water plants, and schools are essential to rebuilding our communities. These fixes began immediately with the DOT and other agencies coming in to help clean up and reopen roads like Interstate 29 and Highway 2. Repairs to the roads and levies will continue throughout this year, as will the efforts to restore many public services that have been impacted.
Much of this work will be funded by federal disaster assistance, but that funding can take time and requires state and local matching funds. To help our communities respond quickly, the Legislature provided $15 million to help towns and counties begin restoring these vital services and meet federal match requirements.
Housing is another major issue facing communities impacted by this spring’s floods. In many communities, housing options not impacted by the flooding are not available today. Governor Reynolds and the Legislature responded to this by providing $10 million in tax credits for the development and construction of affordable housing in counties that have been declared federal disaster areas. These funds will allow builders and communities to begin rebuilding and keep residents in the area.
The state’s response to this spring’s floods goes beyond funding. Law changes were made to help people file vital documents electronically; allowing them to apply for and receive needed assistance much more quickly. We have also changed laws to allow for better cooperation and coordination across state lines with the watershed management areas along the Missouri River. Additionally, the filing dates for state tax payments from people and businesses in the disaster areas were extended by the Department of Revenue.
Recovering from this spring’s floods will be a challenge for our friends, families, and communities. It will take time, commitment, patience, and partners willing to do the necessary work. We can be thankful that we have strong partners in Governor Reynolds and the Legislature who will be with us in this process.