COUNCIL BLUFFS — The focus is shifting for Council Bluffs officials who had spent the summer dealing with Missouri River flooding.
"We were in a critical situation for a long time, and all the effort out there paid off," Mayor Tom Hanafan said.
Now, he said, starts the recovery process.
Council Bluffs has spent $10.5 million battling floodwaters, and costs will continue to climb once officials get a chance to assess the damage, the mayor said. How much those costs will climb is unknown, he said.
"What is Big Lake (Park) going to look like? When will it open? We don't know," Hanafan said.
To help finance Council Bluffs' flood-fighting efforts, the city halted most capital purchases earlier this summer, said Art Hill, city finance director.
"We have asked everybody to wait until we assess the damage and reprioritize our needs," he said.
The department heads have cooperated, Hill said. The Fire Department delayed a half-million-dollar purchase of a firetruck, the Police Department has held off on major purchases and the Parks Department has postponed work on the River's Edge Park and canceled purchases related to it.
"This is an unusual circumstance," said Parks Director Larry Foster. "We understand priorities will have to be adjusted. We all understand that. We're all on the same page."
Talks with department heads are to begin soon to develop new strategies and priorities for a new Capital Improvement Plan, Hill said. This also may include discussion of new methods for funding major expenses. One possibility could be the sale of larger bond issues than in the past, especially in light of the current low interest rates, Hill said.