Metro Briefs

BY DI STAFF | MARCH 6, 2009 7:22 AM

Council to ponder stimulus, schools

The Iowa City city councilors are set to discuss a range of issues from stimulus money to addressing the Iowa City School Board at their meeting next week.

Iowa is set to receive $1.9 billion of the $787 billion federal stimulus package.

Funding for stimulus projects is underway, and money from the state will be allocated to cities soon, said City Manager Michael Lombardo. Departments that will see funding include Iowa City’s transit system and building projects.

“We believe the funding might be available to assist with accounting systems upgrades, and possibly the construction of the fourth fire station,” Lombardo said in a release to the council.

The council will also discuss the local-option sales-tax initiative. City officials are in the process of developing educational information on the 1-cent raise for residents.

In addition, councilors will decide whether to send a letter to the Iowa City School Board regarding the renovation and maintenance of neighborhood schools. The city expressed concern over the absence of some elementary schools from the board’s facilities improvement plan.

The council will meet March 10 to complete their decisions on addressing the School Board and continuing talks about their budget.

— by Amanda McClure

Culver announces flood aid

After visiting with UI leaders and officials from Iowa City, Coralville, and Johnson County, Gov. Chet Culver announced nearly $1.4 million in federal and state funds for flood recover at the UI on Thursday.

The funds have been identified and are in final approval for campus disaster recovery as part of the effort to help rebuild infrastructure following last summer’s floods.

During his visit to Iowa City on Wednesday, Culver signed a proclamation declaring March “Flood Awareness Month” in Iowa.

The $1.4 million will allow the UI to lease a temporary boiler system while long-term power restoration plans continue. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will cover 90 percent of the cost with the UI responsible for the rest.

The project is part of 10,600 projects identified under the State/FEMA Public Assistance program designed to help public and some non-profit agencies in 84 counties rebuild Iowa infrastructure and pay response efforts.

To date, the state and FEMA have obligated more than $593 million in federal funds for public assistance.

— by Justin Sugg

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