Iowa City city councilors discusses Idyllwild possibilities

BY DI STAFF | DECEMBER 05, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Iowa City City Council discussed Councilor Jim Throgmorton’s suggestions for the Idyllwild community after rejecting the levee proposal last week and ultimately decided not to support the suggested activities.

Throgmorton posted his suggestions for further activities for the community after voting against last week’s proposal. They included requiring flood insurance for owners in the area, providing one-time compensation for Idyllwild owners, and directing staff to find alternative uses for federal block grant money that would have funded the levee proposal.

The council and city staff expressed doubts about the viability of the first two suggestions.

“To me, singling out one area to require flood insurance doesn’t make sense,” City Councilor Susan Mims said.

City Manager Tom Markus expressed concern about the fairness of a compensation option.

“We get into some serious equity questions,” he said. “Some owners may have decided to sell after the flood.”

However, the council did ask city staff to look into alternate uses of Community Development Block Grant money, a federal grant which the levee proposal planned to use in its funding.

City staff has met with the Iowa Economic Development Authority to identify alternative uses for the grant. One option that was discussed was the expansion of the city’s south wastewater plant.

Rick Fosse, the Iowa City Public Works director, said the goal was to use the grant money in some way.

“We want to make sure the $8 million doesn’t get away from us,” he said.

—By Nick Hassett

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