Marshall County to receive FEMA money

The president has approved the governor’s disaster declaration, making Marshall County – and 46 other counties – eligible for federal money to help repair damage caused by flooding in late May.

Gov. Terry Branstad declared the state a disaster area June 19, asking that President Barack Obama deem nearly half the state eligible for aid under the Public Assistance Program. The president sent word to the governor’s office Tuesday, giving the declaration the thumbs up.

Kim Elder, Marshall County emergency management director, said the declaration does not provide financial assistance to homeowners whose homes sustained damage during the floods. Instead, it provides money to offset the cost of repairing public infrastructure such as roads, levees and culverts and to remove debris.

The Individual Assistance Program is still active. That program, run through Mid-Iowa Community Action, is still providing up to $5,000 for individuals within 200 percent of the federal poverty guideline.

Elder said emergency management directors from the affected counties will meet with state and Federal Emergency Management Agency representatives July 11. During that meeting, she said emergency managers will be able to ask questions such as whether their counties meet the damage threshold to qualify for money to assist individuals.

She said she doesn’t know how long it will take the city to get money for roads and other public repairs.

“It’s different with every disaster – how long it takes to get that money back,” she said. “It’s just a matter of filling out the forms.”

Preliminary estimates for county damage were $230,000 while the city estimated its costs at around $150,000.

Elder said the federal government has provisions to allow public entities to amend their costs as damage becomes more evident once flood waters recede. The situation is gradually improving, she said. No new damage has been discovered in a while.

“Things are starting to dry out,” she said.