No Federal Aid for Tornado Victims

By: Steve Nicoles, Reporter

DES MOINES – Governor Vilsack announced late Friday that Iowa City and Johnson County will not receive any federal financial aid from April's tornado. This news comes as quite a shock to many people in Iowa City and across the state.

Vilsack says he is extremely disappointed by the President's decision. He says the federal government has ignored this desperate situation. Iowa City city manager Steve Atkins says there is nothing left for the city to do. It will have to transfer money from its reserves to cover the costs paid up front. The original request from the feds was about $3.4 million. Atkins says the buildings are insured, but the city has to pay the deductibles. And the city will have to cover the cost of trucks driving through the city, all the cleanup, new street lights, really everything that is not a building. You probably remember the sheer magnitude of the mess made by the tornado two months ago.

Here is the governor's complete statement:
"I am extremely disappointed in the Bush Administration's decision to deny public and private assistance to tornado-ravaged areas in Eastern Iowa. When I spoke to President Bush at the White House in April following the tornadoes in and around Iowa City, I insisted upon the need for assistance to our storm-damaged communities. Based on the President's comments at the time, I felt he would do the right thing and help Iowans alleviate the economic damage and personal tragedy they have faced.

"Unfortunately, the desperate situation of many Iowans affected by recent severe weather in Eastern Iowa has been ignored by the federal government. I have instructed the Homeland Security & Emergency Management Division to review all possible avenues for appealing this decision.

"In addition, I have directed the Homeland Security & Emergency Management Division to work with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to obtain assistance, in the form of loans, for individuals and families in the affected counties."

Email Steve Nicoles at Steve.Nicoles@kcrg.com
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