Iowa legislators restore funding for Iowa Flood Center in amended budget proposal


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The Iowa Flood Center was established after the devastating flood of 2008. (Alan Light/flickr)
Jenna Ladd | April 14, 2017

The Iowa legislature has amended its 2018 budget proposal to restore $1.2 million in funding to the Iowa Flood Center.

The 2018 fiscal year budget plan was released earlier this week. The education spending bill proposed by Republicans included $20 million in cuts and originally featured a $1.5 million decrease in funding for the flood center. Wednesday evening the House Appropriations committee reinstated 2018 funding for the flood center by transferring $950,000 out of general appropriations to the University of Iowa and another $250,000 from a National Guard educational assistance program.

Representative Ashley Hinson, a Republican from Marion, worked as a news anchor, reporter and producer for KCRG-TV9 in Cedar Rapids during the 2008 floods. He said, “I do know the value of the Flood Center to Cedar Rapids and Linn County, and immediately started having those conversations about its importance to our area specifically with our budget chairs and other appropriations committee members.”

Some Democrats are not pleased with the decision to transfer funds from the University of Iowa, calling it “robbing Peter to pay for Paul.” 

“The solution we found was based on trying to balance our priorities with a tough budget year,” responded Hinson. He added, “It was also my understanding that the Flood Center was a ‘priority’ for the University of Iowa, which is why we felt it appropriate to essentially have them share in funding it. I’m happy we were able to find a solution within our current budget constraints.”

Water quality improvement, flood mitigation among perks of finished Charles City paving project


Charles City, the North Eastern Iowa town, is working to reduce flooding and improve water quality through permeable pavement and improve water quality.

Charles City is working to reduce future flooding in a big way.

The city just put the finishing touches on a $3.9 million permeable paving project that aims to reduce chances of flooding and improve water quality, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports.

Rainwater can now infiltrate the ground through gaps between pavers that are not grouted together, reducing the need for storm structures.

The project, which spans 16 blocks of the city, is the largest of its kind in the state and possibly the nation, according to the report.

 

Iowa City approves levee plan


Danforth Chapel on the grounds of the University of Iowa is surrounded by floodwaters from the Iowa River June 16, 2008. Photo by Greg Henshall / FEMA (Wikimedia Commons)

Iowa City will accept $15.7 million in state money to build three levees that aim to protect the area from future flooding.

But some fear the levees may raise water levels downstream, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reports.

The council voted unanimously to accept $15.7 million in state-administered federal funding for all three levees, although several council members expressed regret that it would affect nine remaining residents on the river side of Taft Speedway.

By accepting the Community Development Block Grant funding, the city is committing to building permanent earthen levees at three sites:

• An $11.7 million levee along Taft Speedway and No Name Road in northern Iowa City that would protect the 92 condominiums in the Idyllwild neighborhood, which represent a tax base of $20 million to $22 million.

• A $4 million levee along the east side of the river from Highway 6 to the Crandic Railroad, protecting the Gilbert Street commercial area south of Highway 6 and the Gilbert Street arterial from future flooding.

• Across the river, a $4.2 million west-side levee from McCollister Boulevard to the Crandic Railroad to protect the 190 homes in the Baculis and Thatcher mobile-home parks, as well as the Commercial Court area.

Council member Mike Wright called the Taft and No Name levee “the better of two less-than-optimal choices.”