COUNCIL BLUFFS — The Pottawattamie County Board listened this week to details of a grant opportunity to help with repairs to damaged levees north of Council Bluffs.
Clint Sloss and Jake Hansen of the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency outlined the application process for an Economic Development Administration disaster relief grant.
Sloss said every region will have $52 million to assist communities in devising and implementing long-term economic redevelopment strategies in regions affected by a major federally declared disaster.
“The intent of the funding,” Sloss said, “is to develop disaster resiliency. And economic development flood prevention and post-flooding issues.”
The county would ask for $922,400 in the application and must match it with $230,600. Matching funds could come from an Iowa West Foundation grant the county has applied for in the next quarter.
Sloss said the grant money could be used for:
» Levee district delineation
Survey and characterize condition of the contiguous levee system; identify flood-control options to preserve current protection levels and improve flood protection; review interim and long-term financial considerations; select alternatives for further analysis; identify compromised levees and potential economic impacts on adjacent land use; and examine complementary uses for cost sharing and greater public benefit.
» Engineering assessment
Draft for pre-design of replacement or repair of countywide levee system and estimate costs for system alternatives.
» Legal formation of the district
Conduct legal process for district formation for county ownership of levees, finalize operation and maintenance procedures, and calculate tax implications.
“It's basically a planning request,” Hansen said. “We need to figure out who owns the levees, who is responsible for maintenance, what needs to be repaired or complete construction.
“We need to identify this list, then look for sources to complete it.”
Hansen said even if there are dormant levee districts responsible for the levees, the Economic Development Administration grant is available only through a governmental agency like the county.
Many levee and drainage districts do not know where to begin the process of repairs and reconstruction.
“This would give you somewhere to start,” he said. “The assessment would give you a blueprint for coordination.”
Said County Board member Lynn Grobe: “This is a big step in the right direction.”
The board is expected to vote on signing the grant application July 10. Hansen said the application could be approved within 60 days.