Flooding leaves Spillville resident frustrated and helpless - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Flooding leaves Spillville resident frustrated and helpless

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(KWWL) -

Homeowners in Spillville are feeling helpless after the devastating flooding. The Mayor of Spillville says the problem is the entire county is still operating on a flood map that was created 40 years ago. 

Mayor of Spillville Michael Klimesh says many people in town have been coming to him expressing their frustration. 

The flooding from last week has left many people working through how to pay for the damage.

The city of Spillville is part of Winneshiek County.

Mayor Klimesh says the entire county is operating on a flood map that was created 40 years ago in 1976. 

After the floods of 2008, FEMA issued new flood maps for the county, but never approved those maps. These flood maps have been on hold ever since then, so the Mayor says the problem is they're still operating on a plan that's 40 years old. 

This is the second flood John Cox has seen in this home, after experiencing the floods of 2008. 

"You don't want to use the lessons you used from the first flood so quickly to the second flood," said Cox. 

His house sits just a hundred yards away from the Turkey River. The flood last week left his house with significant damage.

The water damaged the entire basement and even his first floor, leaving them no choice but to gut everything below four feet on the entire first floor. 

Cox and his family had to salvage everything they owned. Toys, books, anything they could grab were piled into boxes. While those special toys were saved, Cox says he can't seem to save their home. 

The city of Spillville became a national flood insurance compliance city after the floods of 2008, which caps their flood insurance off at $35,000. 

Since FEMA has only issued but not approved the flood maps, Cox cant get any more insurance than the $35,000.

Mayor Klimesh says that's not the only obstacle Cox and his neighbors near the river are facing.

"John has to also assess how much damage was to his dwelling," said Mayor Klimesh. "And if his house was damaged at a level of 51% of the assessed value of the home, then John can't reconstruct his house unless he elevates the lowest level, which would be the basement to a height of 1 ft. above the 100 year flood mark. Now nobody knows what the 100 year flood mark is."

The DNR is responsible for issuing the 100 year flood mark, and FEMA is responsible for approving the new flood maps. 

"So we're kind of stuck in limbo here," said Cox. "Deciding what we can do, what we should do. What's going to happen? Are we gonna fix, are we not going to fix it?"

Cox and his neighbors now looking to their mayor for answers. 

"We got seven homes in Spillville that this directly impacts, and they want answers," said Mayor Klimesh. "And they look at the city of Spillville to give them those answers. Unfortunately, I can't and unfortunately, we're not the cause of the problem."

"In my opinion, it would have been better and easier, if a tornado had hit it, than this flood," said Cox. "Because at least the homeowners insurance we had properly covered, and we could have had it fixed. Here with the flood, you're dealing with three or four different agencies that have so many different regulations, like a dog and pony show."

Cox has reached out to a state senator and legislator trying to get some answers for why FEMA has yet to approve those new flood maps.

The Mayor says he has relentlessly tried to get some answers but he says it's out of his control. 

FEMA is still assessing the damage in order to determine if they will come in and provide disaster relief. 

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