Mississippi River Cities & Towns Ask Congress for COVID-19 Revenue Reimbursement

Jul 28, 2020

A year after historic flooding, Mississippi River communities are struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic. 

Bettendorf, Iowa Mayor Bob Gallagher (file)
Credit submitted / City of Bettendorf

Bettendorf Mayor Bob Gallagher is the co-chair of the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative.

He and other mayors are urging Congresss to pay back the money cities have spent to fight COVID-19, plus revenue lost due to lockdowns. 

Gallagher says so far, Bettendorf and other Mississippi River cities have lost 8%-30% of their annual revenue. A handful of city employees decided to retire and those positions have not been filled. The Family Museum has lost eight positions as well. 

In addition, Colin Wellenkamp, Executive Director of the initiative, says most cities have not received federal payments for fighting the record flood. Reimbursements from FEMA are 24 months behind, and cities who applied for funds from the 2016 flood just received payment awhile ago. 

Gallagher and the other mayors are all concerned more job cuts and furloughs will be necessary if Congress doesn't provide any funding. The members of the initiative are also asking for more resources for testing and PPE for schools.