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Hickenlooper Helps Flood-Damaged Towns Move Forward Faster

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – Gov. John Hickenlooper is trying to help cities and counties recover faster from last year's historic flooding. He is changing the process for how federal funding is distributed.

Eighteen counties were eligible for aid after the floods, including Boulder and others in the metro area. But some of the local governments have complained getting reimbursed from the federal government takes too long, leaving them with cash flow problems.

Boulder County flood damage (credit: CBS)

Hickenlooper said all that is changing.

This is how the process works right now: the county repairs a road or bridge and then submits paperwork to the state and waits weeks, sometimes months, for the state to conduct a detailed review.

Once the review is complete that money is distributed.

But Hickenlooper said now, the state will cut a check for half the reimbursement immediately, up to $1 million. Then the review will be conducted and the rest of the money will be released.

"We're taking some risk but it's a calculated risk that's all going to check out. And that if there are problems with it we'll be able to go back in. Generally the problems aren't for the whole sum, it's a piece of a specific project," said Hickenlooper.

Boulder County has already spent $40 million on flood repairs. Not one single permanent road has been repaired. The county expects to spend $200 in all. So far it's received just $36,000.

"More money in the pipeline allows us to help the flood victims in our county get back on their feet, help us build roads, fix the bridges, repair the waterways, so that the county can rebound from the September floods," said Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones.

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