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MUSCATINE — As Mississippi River flood waters recede from near record levels in Muscatine, clean-up may begin in some areas as early as next week.

According to the city of Muscatine, Mississippi Drive may be open Monday from Pine Street to the Iowa Avenue intersection.

"It will be several more weeks before we will open the rest of the street," said Public Works Director Brian Stineman in a news release, "and that depends on the weather."

The river that has been above major flood stage left thick mud on the road as it receded. The street needs to be scraped, swept and washed before it can be reopened. The sub-base of the road from Iowa Avenue to Mulberry Avenue still needs to dry, he said, after being underwater "for an extended period of time."

"The river needs to be below 19.5 feet," Stineman said, "before we can start mobilizing to clean and inspect Mississippi Drive. Keeping people off the roadway will help prevent the concrete from cracking, which could cause longer delays in opening the street."

According to the National Weather Service in the Quad-Cities, the river was around 20.5 feet Friday morning and falling. Around Sunday the river is expected to recede to below the 20-foot major flood stage.

The city also reported Public Works crews continue to walk the levee system around the clock to check for any issues. Canadian Pacific Railroad, which raised its tracks through Muscatine, is continuing to work on a section from the spur near the Heinz plant to Broadway Street.

Residents affected by flooding have some options for assistance.

Muscatine County households affected by flooding with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guideline are eligible to apply for individual grant assistance through Community Action of Eastern Iowa. To apply, qualifying residents may contact Community Action of Eastern Iowa at 563-263-9290 or toll free at 866-263-9290. The deadline to apply is May 31. Applications will be accepted until then or until funding has been expended. Disaster case management is also offered to households affected by flooding regardless of income.

The program provides grants of up to $5,000 per household to cover property losses and damages including home and car repairs, clothing and food, and temporary housing expenses. Original receipts are required for reimbursement of expenses related to flood recovery.

Program eligibility is based on federal income guidelines. The following are annual income maximums per household size:

1 person: $24,980

2 people: $33,820

3 people: $42,660

4 people: $51,500

5 people: $60,340

6 people: $69,180

7 people: $78,020

8 people: $86,860

Households with more than eight members should add $8,840 for each additional person.

Volunteers are needed to assist with clean-up and United Way of Muscatine is organizing an effort. To volunteer, contact the United Way office at 563-263-5963. Volunteers will be deployed for clean-up as soon as Muscatine County Emergency Management determines properties are safe to visit. Those needing assistance should call the Iowa Concern Hotline at 800-447-1985. Homeowners must receive clearance from their insurance company before clean-up can begin.

Residents can breathe a little easier about trying to recover from flooding and also file taxes.

Iowa's Department of Revenue has extended the deadline to file state taxes for five additional counties following Gov. Kim Reynolds recent disaster declarations. Residents or business owners in Muscatine, Louisa, Wapello, Scott and Clinton counties whose original or extended due date for tax payment or return is on or after April 1 but before May 31, will have until June 30 to file.

The extension also suspends any penalty or interest for taxpayers in those affected areas. Property taxes or other taxes administered by county or local governments are not included in the extension. State law allows the department of revenue director Kraig Paulsen to make such an extension.

For more information, visit the department's flood resource page.

Louisa County has also been added to the list of counties receiving extended tax relief from the Internal Revenue Service for federal tax payments. County residents and business owners have until July 31, 2019 to file and pay state individual income taxes and business income taxes due between March 12 and July 31.

More information on Iowa flooding is available at floods.2019.iowa.gov.

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