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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Letter to the Editor: Special session update and disaster bill relief details

  • In July, Governor Dayton received a major federal disaster declaration for 18 counties in Minnesota as a result of damage done by severe storms in June.
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  •     In July, Governor Dayton received a major federal disaster
    declaration for 18 counties in Minnesota as a result of damage done by severe storms in June. The counties encompass western, central
    and southern Minnesota. The counties are: Benton, Big Stone, Douglas, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Grant, Hennepin, Houston,
    McLeod, Morrison, Pope, Sibley, Stearns, Stevens, Swift, Traverse and Wilkin.
        It is estimated that the storms produced $18 million worth of damage. In order to receive federal assistance, the state/local government must come up with 25 percent of the total damage
    costs. Given this formula, the state will pay an estimated $4.5 million to receive $13.5 million in federal assistance.
        The $4.5 million is appropriated by reducing appropriations
    from the 2012 Special Session bill. The reductions will come from
    the following sources:
    • $800,000 – state match for public assistance for
    flooding in the 2012 declaration
    • $1.7 million – DEED (Minnesota Investment Fund) funding for flooding in the 2012 declaration
    • $2 million – state and local assistance for windstorms in the 2012 declaration Minnesota has a strong history of meeting in special
    session when our communities are in need of prompt disaster relief. This case is no different. There was wide bipartisan support for swift legislative action to ensure that the Minnesota communities
    affected by recent weather events can continue their recovery efforts.
        It’s important to recognize this disaster aid will not result in any new spending, but rather rely on unused disaster relief funds from
    previous recovery efforts over 2012 and 2013. When a disaster strikes, Minnesotans come together to help each other recover. The one-day special session proved there was strong bi-partisan support where all legislators, regardless of political affiliation worked quickly to ensure communities across the state got the help they need.
        During the work group meeting, the City of Worthington testified that they needed additional money for assistance in excess of the previous disaster declaration. As a result, the bill turns the money
    appropriated in 2013 into a grant so it’s more accessible for the City of Worthington as well as Nobles and Rock counties. The money is appropriated as follows:
    $60,000 for a grant to Nobles County, $60,000 for a grant to
    Rock County, and $99,141 for a grant to the City of Worthington.
        The $4.5 million and money appropriated to the City of Worthington as a well as Nobles and Rock counties must be expended by June 30, 2017.
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