On September 22, 2010, heavy rain across a wide swath of Southern Minnesota caused widespread flooding and property damage across 32 counties. Federal disaster assistance is expected to cover 75% of the losses, dependent on the damage estimates completed by officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who were on site shortly after the disaster.
Residents and business leaders in the region have been quick to call for state assistance in getting this part of Minnesota on its feet again. Most critical among the needs are road and bridge repair, school funding assistance to get displaced students back into class, and help for homeowners in need of shelter with winter fast approaching.
Also included in the legislation is language and funding to assist the North Central Minnesota community of Wadena, after a June 17, 2010 tornado caused extensive damage to a number of public facilities there, including the community center, school, and school district offices.
Officials from the House, Senate, Governor’s Office, and various state agencies have met over the course of the past week to craft a bill which provides some state assistance to help homeowners, business owners, and farmers recover, and assist communities and counties in repairing damaged infrastructure.
The bill includes $80.2 million in flood/tornado relief, and is targeted at specific agencies and areas, including public safety, transportation, natural resources, agriculture, employment and economic development, housing finance, education, and human services. The money comes from the General Fund and some general obligation bonding dollars and trunk highway bonds.
Overall, the flood-relief sections of the bill contain $5 million from the Trunk Highway Fund, $32.5 million from the General Fund, $26 million from bond proceeds, and $10 million from the State Transportation Fund. The $6.6 million in tornado relief comes in the form of $5.89 million from the General Fund and $750,000 from bond proceeds.
The Governor is expected to sign the bill later today.