Iowa mayors come together to ask Congress for COVID-19 relief funding

An aerial view of downtown Cedar Rapids in an undated file photo. (KCRG File)
An aerial view of downtown Cedar Rapids in an undated file photo. (KCRG File)(KCRG)
Published: May. 5, 2020 at 6:53 PM CDT
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The Federal Cares Act included funding for state and local governments to offset costs and tax revenue lost from COVID-19, but only cities with more than 500,000 people got help.

That means no cities in Iowa qualified for funding.

The mayors of Dubuque, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Ankeny, West Des Moines, and Davenport joined forces to write a letter to Congress urging it to include funding for cities of all sizes.

Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart said his city is looking at a potential $50 million hit, which would be about 10 percent of the city's total budget. For that reason, Hart said it feels like Congress is forgetting about small cities and towns.

"It hurts, it just hurts the fact that we are going through all those same struggles at a different level," Hart said. "We are not asking for a billion dollars but give us some fair share so we can recover, too."

Hart likened the funding to Cedar Rapids' disproportionate treatment in getting funding for flood projects. He also said the funding cuts could delay projects including flood protection work.

Because of the formula Congress used favoring large cities, Iowa as a whole got the same federal funding from the Cares Act as Wyoming, even though Iowa has six times as many people.