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City’s derecho debris cleanup likely $4 million

The cost to clean up debris in Marshalltown after the August derecho is likely to reach $4 million, according to city administrator Jessica Kinser.

Kinser said her initial thought was the cleanup effort would cost about $3 million before bids came in.

Cornerstone Demo and Clearing was the initial low bidder to chip and haul vegetative debris but opted to withdraw its bid worth about $1.1 million. Thorp Logging and Sawmill of Jefferson was selected as the next lowest bidder at $1.8 million.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to reimburse the city for 75 percent of the cost of the disaster assistance claim. Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management will assist with 10 percent of the cost, leaving the city responsible for the remaining 15 percent.

The city is working with the Iowa Communities Assurance Pool, an insurance program for Iowa public entities, to assess more damage costs, such as damage to the Marshalltown Municipal Airport.

“We’re easily over $1 million on insurance,” Kinser said.

The process of evaluating trees that may need removal is still underway. For FEMA to approve the necessity to remove a tree as part of its disaster assistance policy it must meet at least one of these three criteria:

• More than 50 percent of the crown is damaged or destroyed.

• The trunk is split or heartwood is exposed.

• The tree is leaning at an angle greater than 30 degrees.

Public works director Justin Nickel said the cleaning up of debris is almost complete. Debris has been collected at two locations, north on 18th Avenue and at the end of West Southridge Road.

The city will continue to haul debris while the compost center remains open.

“We are getting a few calls a week,” Nickel said. “Depending on the workload which has been light we typically pick a day of the week and pick up all requests.”

The cleanup of debris increased traffic reduced the lifespan of several roads which may require mill and overlay in some areas. Kinser said the city is looking at street signs in need of replacement.

“There are a lot of things we plan to propose before the Dec. 18 deadline,” Kinser said.

Contact Joe Fisher at 641-753-6611 or jfisher@timesrepublican.com.

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