At the Rock Rapids meeting, King heard from several Lyon County and Rock Rapids leaders about the issues they’re facing after the flood.
Lyon County Secondary Road Engineer Laura Sievers says their department is facing several issues. There are still several roads and bridges that have not been repaired. She says she’s being told that timber bridges that were destroyed have to be replaced with timber bridges. Sievers says she hasn’t talked to anyone that even remembers installing a timber bridge in Lyon County. She says she estimates it may have been decades since that has been done. She says they only put in concrete bridges at this time, and she says that could prove to be a problem. She also says the county shop was hit hard by the flood and had 3 to 4 feet of water in it. She says the equipment was insured, but the building did not have flood insurance, and they are barely scraping by on their current budget.
Rock Rapids Mayor Jason Chase told the Congressman that about 70 families are still displaced after the floods. He says with the number of houses that have been severely damaged or destroyed, the city’s lack of available housing has now become a critical issue. He says the low unemployment means the community needs people to fill the available jobs. If people are displaced to another community, the possibility is high that they’ll get another job in that community and not move back to Rock Rapids.
Frontier Bank CEO George Schneidermann says that many things depend on a community’s population, including grants and other funding. He too was concerned about losing population due to the houses that were destroyed.
Congressman King tells us why he was in northwest Iowa.
He says he thinks the best course of action to get answers to the people is to start from the ground up.
King says that FEMA appears to have a threshold of 582 homes being damaged before the area qualifies for disaster relief. King says he hopes he can get a waiver for that number.
He says the cap number is meaningless to someone who has lost everything.
King says the long-term delay normally associated with flooding aftermath only exacerbates the housing shortage problem.
The Congressman was in Rock Rapids, Rock Valley, and Akron, and drove through Hawarden on his flooding tour.