Council Bluffs officials took a step toward improving the city's levee system by hiring an engineering firm to oversee the effort.
The City Council on Monday night approved the hiring of JEO Consulting Group, of Lincoln, to oversee improvements.
City Engineer Matt Cox estimates it will cost $50 million to make improvements to Council Bluff's river and creek levees needed to abide by federal standards.
If Council Bluffs doesn't make improvements, Cox says the Federal Emergency Management Agency could take action indicating the city's west end is prone to flooding. That would lead to higher flood insurance rates for property owners.
The city could pay the $50 million over a period of years, with the money coming from various sources.