Flood mitigation to impact Iowa City's fiscal 2014 budget


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As the city makes preparations for fiscal 2014, city officials say the advancement of ongoing flood-mitigation projects will have an effect on the budget.

The Iowa City City Council discussed the current flood-mitigation strategy, reviewed the current progress made in implementing the strategy, and discussed budget numbers for how the flood-recovery funds will be spent in the upcoming years through 2016.

“We want to prepare the council for the upcoming budget process,” said Rick Fosse, the Iowa City public works director.

The city identified 17 flood-mitigation projects totaling $158 million. Iowa City officials secured $102.8 million in federal and state funding and have plans to secure more funding.

There have been 93 residential buyouts in Iowa City since the flood. The city has constructed 93 homes and will construct 141 homes total.

Upcoming flood-recovery projects in 2012 include the beginning of an expansion of the south wastewater plant and completion of the water-source-protection projects.

City Councilor Jim Throgmorton spoke about the flood-recovery funds and how they fit into the upcoming budget for the next year.

“They’ve been huge,” he said. “There’s a very large amount of money that remains to be spent at these projects.”

Approximately $32.8 million is expected to be generated by the local option sales tax through the duration of its four-year implementation. This will add to the $102.8 million that has already been secured in funding.

The relocation of the north wastewater facility will be the costliest flood-recovery project, costing the city $54.8 million. The relocation is part of the local options sales tax focus. An estimated 10 percent of the relocation has been completed; April or May 2013 is the projected completion date.

Throgmorton believes the progress made by the city on the flood-recovery projects has been incredible.

“The staff has made tremendous progress,” he said. “It’s been good for the city.”

Mayor Matt Hayek also recognized the extensive process that has faced city officials following the 2008 flood.

“The public knows this and the council knows this as well, but the amount of work we put into this is staggering,” Hayek said at the meeting. “My hats off to you guys.”

However, Throgmorton raised the point that there is still more to do.

“There are still key decisions to be made,” he said.

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