Members of the Rebuild Iowa Advisory Commission may have held their final meeting Monday. The 15-member group was appointed by Governor Culver last July to develop a plan to help the state recover from the devastating weather of 2008.
Members say their work may be done, but say they’re frustrated with restrictions on how federal community block grants can be used to repair damaged buildings and roads. Charles City small business owner Jim Davis says it’s time to loosen the red tape attached to the recovery funds. "It takes time for the various fundings to work through the various processes in order to be delivered to people," Davis said. "There’s just not a whole way around it in certain instances when you would like to bring people more immediate relief and you’re not able to." Davis says he finally moved back to his flood-damaged home just three weeks ago.
The lobbyist for the Rebuild Iowa Office , Susan Judkins, says all of the group’s recommendations are wrapped into bills that survived the legislative funnel. "While it can be typical for legislation to take three years to pass, the fact that several of these recommendations remain alive and are likely to pass this session is a very strong indication of (legislator’s) interest in those ideas," Judkins said.
Commission executive director Major General Ron Dardis says the group could formally disband at the end of the legislative session. "This was the last scheduled meeting," Dardis said. "We will review where everything is at the end of the legislative session and then review, with the governor, the Executive Order and then make a final decision."
Judkins says she expects the Legislature will pass a bill requiring cities and counties to participate in national flood insurance programs that could lower premiums for flood insurance. She also says lawmakers will likely form a task force on flood plain management that would provide recommendations for the Governor and Legislature to consider next session.