The Rebuild Iowa Commission turned its first report over to the governor today. General Ron Dardis, the commander of the Iowa National Guard, chaired the commission and says the report has seven immediate recommendations for recovering from the storms and flooding .
Dardis says the first recommendation is to "provide advice and support" to individuals, families, farmers, businesses with information that can be easily accessed "a one stop shop" for people to get help. The second recommendation is to "ensure immediate needs housing for all who need to be relocated, temporarily or permanently, before cold weather arrives."
The third recommendation is to provided incentives immediately for struggling small businesses, microenterprises and non-profits to help them rebuild. The fourth recommendation is to complete floodplain mapping for the entire state. The fifth recommendation is to create funding options for state and local governments to assist them in rebuilding, and the seventh is to "expedite the flow of funds from the federal level through to state and local governments.
Dardis says this report is just one part of the overall move to recovery. "Once the initial recommendations are underway, there’s an expectation that they will be supported and maintained over time. Rebuilding and recovery will continue for years," Dardis says, "For many Iowans these weeks and months since the storms have seemed impossible and crushing, but Iowans, their communities and the state, are resilient, and ultimately filled with hope and determination."
Iowa Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge accepted the report today on behalf of the governor. Judge says it’s too early to tell if there will be a special legislative session needed. Judge says" There are a lot of factors involved in this without getting to far into the weeds this morning." She says a big question is whether FEMA will approve a decrease in the state cost-share down to 10%. Judge says the governor will review the recommendations and decide how best to take action.
The Lieutenant Governor says the idea of a one stop place for people to go to get help is a good one that they want to see implemented — but says federal rules have stopped that from happening. Judge says federal privacy rules have prevented FEMA from sharing the names, addresses and needs of people who have signed up for help with state officials. "And that has made it very difficult for us to locate those families, and to clearly know what the unmet need is," Judge explains.
Judge says the hope to be able to resolve the situation. Judge says there are some ways to get around the privacy rules to share the information, and that’s the first step that they are working on. This report comes 45 days after the commission first met and deals with the immediate needs. The Rebuild Iowa Commission is set to deliver a second report in 120 days — sometime in November — that will deal with long term plans for rebuilding.
You can see a copy of the final report on the Rebuild Iowa website .