Governor Culver signs bill that will cut down on Jumpstart loan span - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Governor Culver signs bill that will cut down on Jumpstart loan span

IOWA CITY (KWWL) - Iowa homeowners who received Jumpstart money to rebuild their flood-damaged home got some good news on Tuesday. Governor Chet Culver signed into law a bill that cuts in half the amount of time recipients must stay in their homes, before their jumpstart loans are forgiven.

The governor says this will not only cut down on their burden, but the state's as well. He signed senate file 289 at Iowa City's Old Capitol. The bill passed the Senate and House unanimously. Governor Culver says the bill will help to reduce administrative burdens, by taking time away from having to monitor the full loan process.

"It'll cut down on the bureaucracy and make it easier, essentially, for those families that are receiving jumpstart money to get through the process by reducing the number of years from 10 to 5," said Culver.

We visited with one Iowa City flood victim, who told us this is just one more small step toward total flood recovery.

"That's a considerable lightening of our load," said Roberta Till-Retz. She lives in the Parkview Terrace neighborhood, where many residents are still rebuilding, or have left their homes. Her $16,000 Jumpstart loan is now less of a burden on her mind.

"If we have to move out within two years, we'll only owe two-and-a-half years of re-payment on the loan."

But, she says it's a small step toward getting everything back to normal. "What would be even better is if they would say, 'in the event that you would have to get out of your home for another flood, you don't have to pay it back at all,' which isn't the case."

That's a condition of the Jumpstart money that makes people living near the river especially cautious. "People down here, these homes were their only asset, and many of them are in or nearing retirement, like me, struggling to raise children, and many people with disabilities are down here," she told us. "The fear of the next flood is something that is terrifying for us."

She's thankful for the bill Culver signed on Tuesday, but told us that it will help out people in Cedar Rapids and harder-hit areas of Iowa City, like the Idyllwild neighborhood, even more.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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