116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION — Marion’s cost of recovery from last year’s derecho is $11 million less than an earlier estimate.
In late January, the city estimated the cost of derecho cleanup would be up to $43 million.
This week, a new estimate put the cost at around $32 million, City Manager Lon Pluckhahn told The Gazette.
“That’s a big positive for the community,” Pluckhahn said.
In April, the Marion City Council approved a line of credit of up to $20 million over four years with Wells Fargo Bank. The line of credit was there to tide over the city, if needed, while it waited for disaster reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state of Iowa.
With the lower cost estimate, city officials are thinking they won’t have to borrow any money.
“It was about that turnaround time for reimbursement,” Pluckhahn said. “You never know how quickly you will get it. If things come in by January, we shouldn’t have to exercise that line of credit at all.”
With the damage estimate now at $32 million, Marion will need to come up with around $4.5 million for its share of the cleanup costs instead of $6.5 million.
Marion expects 75 percent reimbursement from FEMA and 10 percent from the state, Amal Eltahir, assistant to the Marion city manager in Marion, previously told The Gazette
A couple of derecho recovery projects already have been completed, including debris collection along public rights of way, and submitted for reimbursement, Pluckhahn said.
The city had three contracts — with Southern Disaster Recovery, Debris Tech Monitoring and Wendling Quarry — for debris collection, monitoring and disposal, with an estimated total cost of around $30 million.
About half that sum goes to Southern Disaster Recovery for cleaning the city’s waterways — Dry, Indian and Wanatee creeks — the past few months.
Some waterway cleanup remains — mainly on the city’s north side and in tributaries to the creeks — though Southern Disaster Recovery finished its portion of the work in June.
City workers will complete that work, Pluckhahn said, noting “our flash flooding event (in late June) could’ve been worse if we didn’t get stuff out of the way.”
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