FEMA gives preliminary damage figures

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

McGregor City Administrator Lynette Sander said FEMA’s preliminary damage estimate for the city’s property from the July 19 tornado is $109,500.

This “conservative estimate,” as she called it, includes $85,000 for debris removal. The remaining $24,500 is for damages not covered by insurance, including the pedestrian bridge over B Street, the banners and brackets on the street lights, storm sewer fencing and some storm sewer wall damage.

The amount was surprising, said mayor Harold Brooks.

“If you would have told me it was only $109,000, I would have said you’re full of it,” he said.

FEMA reviewed McGregor Municipal Utilities (MMU) separately, providing a figure of $74,000, said MMU Board Chairman Charlie Zahn. That amount, he said, does not include street lights. Some of the bills from utility companies who helped out following the tornado have also not been submitted.

Clayton County Emergency Management Director Sarah Moser said she still does not have a final number for county-wide public damage from the incident, which includes the tornado along with flooding in other parts of the county later in the week.

“The last figure I had was that we were over $800,000 in public damage,” she said.

On Aug. 10, Gov. Kim Reynolds sent a letter to President Donald Trump requesting a presidential disaster declaration for seven Iowa counties, including Clayton County, that were significantly damaged by severe storms and flooding July 19-23.

The governor requested funding under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program. The money could be used to rebuild damaged infrastructure or cover costs of emergency work during and debris removal after the storms.

A joint federal, state and local preliminary damage assessment of the seven counties, which also included Allamakee, Bremer, Buchanan, Chickasaw, Fayette and Mitchell, estimated the severe weather caused nearly $7 million in damages that could be eligible under the Public Assistance Program.

No word has yet been released on if, or when, a presidential disaster declaration will be issued.

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