HEARTLAND FLOOD: Long-awaited recovery funds on the way to Iowa communities

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) -- Millions of dollars are on the way to help Iowans still recovering from the 2019 flood. The long-awaited funds are a massive relief to counties in northwest Iowa.

Iowa’s flood mitigation board met at Pottawattamie County Emergency headquarters on Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, to begin assigning emergency funds to flood projects. (Tara Campbell / WOWT)

Over a highly anticipated conference call, officials from across Iowa quickly thanked the state for getting it done; $21 million on the way to fund, what have deemed priority projects.

“It was just a relief that we can kind of put the worry and angst over financially how are we going to recovery from this and deal with it behind us,” said Doug Reed, Emergency Management Director, Pottawattamie County.

“The impact of being able to secure this funding is huge."

The county's levee system is still in shambles, leaving farmland, homes, and interstates at risk

“There's projects out there that would cause such a financial burden to property owners down the road,” Reed said.

Taxpayers are stuck paying for whatever doesn't get covered by state or federal funds. Friday’s injection of about $4.5 million is expected to shore up the $12.5 million bill.
“What a relief it is for the taxes,” said Gene Walter, with Honey Creek Ditch District — they are ready to start work right away.

“We got our contractor in place," Walter said. "We're going to get that going and get those holes going."

The new funding spreading across counties, helping to pay for everything from levee and road repairs to property buyouts; helping to stave off another disaster — or at least give them a chance.

“[To] focus 100% of our attention to doing as much work as we can before Mother Nature raises her head again,” Reed said.