The Governor has called for a special session of the Minnesota legislature to be held Monday, October 11. Governor Pawlenty and key legislators have noted that we are likely to use a similar approach as was taken in 2007 with the Rushford flood. In that year, heavy rains in mid-August caused a rapid and dramatic rise of the Root River, and numerous homes, farms, and businesses in the Fillmore County community of roughly 2,000 were damaged.
Contained in that bill was a total of $146 million from the General Fund, the Petroleum Tank Clean-up Fund, the Trunk Highway Fund, bond proceeds, trunk highway bonds, and the State Transportation Fund.
Spelled out in the 2007 legislation were specific appropriations to flood relief, the departments of Public Safety, Transportation, Natural Resources, Employment and Economic Development, Education, Human Services, and Revenue, and the Board of Soil and Water Resources, the Pollution Control Agency, the Housing Finance Agency, and the Minnesota Historical Society,. There was also money appropriated for bond sales.
Federal Emergency Management Agency have been assessing the damage to homes, farms, and businesses. Governor Pawlenty has already asked President Obama to declare the region of southeastern Minnesota a disaster area. The Governor said that there is $235 million available at the end of this biennium that could be used for the flood-relief efforts. He also mentioned federal funding that was passed over this summer may be used for the 2010 relief efforts.
Last night, Representative Bly and I met with city officials to talk about the pending legislation. We have been in discussion with city officials, business owners, and residents affected to ensure that the special session and legislation will be able to provide the assistance needed to get our community back on track.