Grassley backs Cedar Rapids' appeal to FEMA

CR looking to restore about $66 million in disaster funds from the 2008 flood

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CEDAR RAPIDS — City Hall has an ally in Sen. Chuck Grassley as it works to convince the Federal Emergency Management Agency to restore about $66 million in disaster funds.

The city had expected the funds for incinerator repair and replacement at the city’s wastewater-treatment plant and for demolition at the former Sinclair meatpacking plant.

Grassley’s office on Wednesday released a copy of a letter the senator has sent to Craig Fugate, FEMA administrator, asking Fugate to reconsider FEMA’s decision to shift gears and de-obligate funds to the city after FEMA earlier had said it would pay them. The city has spent its own money for some of the work, the senator’s letter states.

“Three years later, the city of Cedar Rapids is still recovering from the floods, and FEMA’s change of position midstream is resulting in delays and possible elimination of millions of dollars, (which) is threatening the city’s finances,” the senator’s letter says.

The city’s spending to date on the incinerator and the Sinclair demolition amounts to about a quarter of the city’s $99-million annual operating budget, the Grassley letter adds.

Mayor Ron Corbett led a City Hall delegation to Washington, D.C., two weeks ago to talk to FEMA’s Fugate about the funding issue.

Grassley’s office said Wednesday that the state’s entire Congressional delegation joined in the Grassley letter to FEMA.

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