Marshalltown making headway in recovery
Recovery efforts from Monday’s derecho are bearing fruit.
Marshall County Emergency Management Director Kim Elder said some locations in Marshalltown have power and it will be a matter of hours or days for other spots.
“Just because your neighbor has power, does not mean you will,” she said. “It all depends on the system your house is connected to and how much damage you have. Getting the power back will not be consistent, such as block-to-block.”
Cindy Tomlinson, manager of external communications for Alliant, said slowly but surely services are being restored in Marshalltown, but echoed what Elder said regarding some people having power while neighbors do not.
While Marshalltown electricity is coming back together, the smaller Marshall County communities have not as many results.
However Tomlinson said employees are diligently working to get all homes and businesses back online. She urged everyone to give workers plenty of room.
“There have been some areas where it became an issue of technicians not having enough space to work,” Tomlinson said. “As curious as you are, please stay home and provide space so they can work. It will only enhance our ability to get service restored as quickly as possible.”
With the derecho being the biggest natural disaster Alliant has ever dealt with, Tomlinson said it has been amazing to watch all of the employees come together in the effort to restore power.
“Everyone is offering to help,” she said. “I am watching employees across the board offer their support. It is impressive to see such collaboration and partnership.”
As power is being restored, damage assessments are ongoing. Elder said the city of Marshalltown is doing very good with getting them done. However, they do take time.
“I have been getting calls asking when assessments will happen,” she said. “We are not going door-to-door. We are doing drive-bys and then will do a quick walk-around if a neighborhood was hit bad. We have every square mile to cover in the county. It will take time.”
The assessments are being conducted by city staff who are using the FEMA damage ranking system. Properties with major damage or labeled as destroyed may be subject to placarding by the City of Marshalltown.
The placarding notice will instruct owners to contact building officials with a plan toward repair or demolition. Property owners who do not respond by Sept. 15 with a plan, or without proper permits secured, may be subject to further action.
If a property has been placarded, call the Housing and Community Development Department at 641-754-5756.
Elder said people in rural areas who are working to clean their property need to call the Marshall County Courthouse and speak to the Secondary Road Department to find out where to dump debris.
Marshalltown Community School District Communications Director Adam Sodders said the district did receive some damage to buildings and grounds. While the debris is cleared from the property, assessments are also being conducted.
Through it all, Elder said it has been good to see the people of Marshalltown come together once again. She heard there was a Department of Transportation vehicle that could not gain access to the Iowa Veterans Home. The truck was there to move debris from the campus. Elder said community members jumped right in and began clearing the roads without being asked.
“I know people have their differences, but at the end of the day, we help each other,” she said. “We are definitely lucky to live in a place like this where people can forget their politics, their arguments and help their neighbors. We step up to the occasion.”
As people continue cleaning up debris and assessing their losses, the financial impacts are being felt. Elder said there is help available. The Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program provides grants of up to $5,000 for households with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level or a maximum annual income of $43,440 for a family of three.
Grants are available for home or car repairs, replacement of clothing or food and temporary housing expenses. Original receipts are required for those seeking reimbursement for actual expenses related to storm recovery. Potential applicants have 45 days from the date of the proclamation to submit a claim.
The grant application and instructions are available on the Iowa Department of Human Services website.
Besides money, there is a program people can use to form a recovery plan.
Disaster Case Management is a program to address serious needs to overcome a disaster-related hardship, injury or adverse condition. Disaster case managers work with clients to create a disaster recovery plan and provide guidance, advice and referral to obtain a service or resource.
There are no income eligibility requirements for this program. Disaster Case Management closes 180 days from the date of the governor’s proclamation. For information on the Disaster Case Management Program, visit www.iowacommunityaction.org.