DENVER - Gov. John Hickenlooper has authorized an additional $20 million to help communities impacted by flooding and he's allowing state agencies to suspend any regulations for businesses dealing with the disaster.
Hickenlooper made the authorizations Friday with an executive order. The latest funding approval from Hickenlooper brings the total to $26 million in state funds for the flood response and recovery efforts.
The governor also declared a disaster emergency in Clear Creek and Sedgwick counties.
Seventeen counties have been impacted by last week's floods.
Meanwhile, the official in charge of recovery efforts in the aftermath of last week's devastating Colorado floods says his priorities are rebuilding the state equal or better than it was before and operating "with a very heavy sense of urgency."
Jerre Stead said Friday he also wants to finish assessing damages in the state quickly to reach agreements on assistance with FEMA. He says officials have finished assessing about three quarters of the damage from the floods, but assessments won't be finalized until all the water is gone. He didn't have a dollar estimate on damages so far.
Hickenlooper's executive order authorizes state agencies to suspend the provisions of any state regulatory statute that would in any way prevent, hinder or delay necessary action in coping with the emergency.
The order states:
"As a result of the recent flooding, Colorado’s transportation infrastructure has been significantly compromised, limiting the ability of the citizens of Colorado to access their homes, businesses and farms and negatively impacting our ability to provide necessary goods and services to the hardest hit counties. The severity of the damage to the transportation infrastructure, taken together with the brevity of time before winter weather conditions set in, requires extraordinary measures to assist in the reconstruction and repair of Colorado’s transportation infrastructure.
"The flooding has also damaged businesses and hindered their ability to provide their communities with essential goods and services including food and other daily necessities. Extraordinary measures are necessary to reopen food service businesses promptly in a manner that does not compromise food safety but also recognizes that the rules and regulations in normal times might be unduly burdensome under the circumstances."
Gov. John Hickenlooper named Stead the chief recovery officer on Thursday. He is the executive chairman of Englewood-based IHS Inc., a global information company with experts in fields including energy and economics.