Cedar Rapids Says Derecho Recovery Could Exceed $60 Million
The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that city officials in Cedar Rapids expect the cost to fix damages from the August 10th derecho to be between $60 and $80 million. That does not include the cost of replacing the tree canopy that was destroyed in the city as well.
While much of the recovery cost will be covered by federal and state governments, City Council members are still concerned on making sure the burden on taxpayers is kept to a minimum. City Finance Director Casey Drew told the City Council that the city will be on the hook for around 15% of the costs eligible for reimbursement through FEMA. The Gazette reports that will be at least $9 million. Debris pickup will likely cost around $30 million, with the city paying around $4.5 million.
The derecho did not reach the levels of the 2008 Cedar Rapids flood. The Gazette says that the federal government covered 90% of the costs with the state picking up the other 10%. But the city incurred costs that were not covered by FEMA, cost the city nearly $200 million of the floods $2.1 billion price tag.
The Gazette reports that City Council member Scott Olson asked whether derecho recovery could be financed using a 20-year bond instead of tapping into the cities reserves. He said that would prevent risking the city's strong bond rating by depleting the reserve fund. Other council members wondered if the public would be O.K. with a tax increase to pay for recovery efforts, especially in light of the increase in the tax levy to pay for flood protection.