Most State Disaster Money Bound For Flooded Area

Minnesota legislators will consider spending nearly $80 million on flood and tornado relief when they gather Monday in a special session.

The state flood aid would be funded by $32.5 million in cash, $26 million in borrowed money, $10 million from a transportation fund and $5 million from a highway fund. Blue Earth, Cottonwood, Dodge, Faribault, Freeborn, Goodhue, Jackson, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, Mower, Murray, Olmsted, Pipestone, Rice, Rock, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca, Watonwan and Winona counties are eligible for federal flood aid.

Blue Earth, Brown, Houston, Kittson, Nicollet, Sibley, Faribault, Freeborn, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Polk, Steele and Wadena counties are eligible for $6.6 million tornado aid. Of that, $5.2 million would be in cash and the rest in money the state borrows.

Policymakers say numbers, which have changed several times in recent days, still could be tweaked before the session.

Besides recovery aid, the bill to be considered Monday provides funds to help local governments keep local aid intact and delays property tax deadlines for some businesses and farmers affected by floods.

Provisions in the disaster bill include:

– $15 million for damaged state and local roads and bridges.

– $14 million to reduce future flooding by cleaning up public waterways, repairing river gauges and the repair or relocation of the Oronoco dam.

– $12 million to cover items federal spending does not.

– $10 million in grants to local organizations, including businesses.

– $10 million to acquire easements on marginal lands in the disaster area to protect soil and water quality and to support fish and wildlife habitat.

– $4 million in loans for homeowners unable to repair or rebuild their homes due to flood damage expenses that exceed private insurance and federal assistance.

– $4 million for farmers affected by floods.

– $3 million to help communities with erosion and sediment control.

– $523,000 for school districts that lost funding or incurred increased transportation costs due to disasters.

– $500,000 for low-interest loans and grants to finance infrastructure that might otherwise be unaffordable to communities.

– $250,000 for clean-up of historical buildings.

– $5.2 million for the non-federal cost share for eligible expenses from the June tornadoes.

– $750,000 to update Wadena’s existing pre-design and design plans for public facilities.

– $693,000 for school districts with uninsured losses to buildings and equipment in the tornadoes.