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Iowa Senate approves $21M in flood-recovery funds as some counties sweat levee repair timelines

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POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY, Iowa (WOWT) -- The Iowa Senate approved $21 million to flood-stricken counties Wednesday. It's the recovery funding injection they've been waiting for, but for one county time is running out.

In Pottawattamie County, levees protecting interstates, farmland and homes are still riddled with $12.5 million worth of destruction.

"We've been working real hard on solving the funding Rubik's Cube we're facing with all of this," said Doug Reed, the Emergency Management Director of Pottawattamie County.

Funding levee fixes for the county can be tricky since costs not covered by FEMA or the state fall on taxpayers, and it's a time-consuming process.

"To advertise for a public hearing, conduct a public hearing and then get the authorizations, and then let for bids and then wait for those to come in -- so it all adds up," said Reed.

Darren's West's family was cut off from their home for nearly 10 months last year.

"It's a pretty eerie feeling when you're not protected -- we were protected for years by those levees and now they're just not there," said West.

West says he's prepared to get his family out of the home if the water hits again.

"I hope nothing happens but you never know. You never know if you'll be moving or not and hopefully if we do they'll be plenty of warning so we can get out safely," said West.

Officials believe more state funding is likely on the way.

But as quickly as that cash may flow --- there's still a long way to go in getting the levees back up to par.

"March 1 is probably not realistic," said Reed.

The availability of contractors and weather conditions are still major factors.

"It's so hard to estimate when we could get these done in terms of the realistic," said Reed.

And so as the work continues, officials hoping dry weather will keep the river levels down.

"We're in a position where we need to be cautious, but we're not ringing any major alarm bells yet," said Reed.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is expected to sign-off on the $21 million in flood-recovery aid. It's then up to the flood mitigation board to determine exactly what projects will be funded.

Local officials are hoping to hear some news within the next couple of weeks.

KTIV Staff

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