Agreement reached on flood special session issues; date still pending

An agreement on what funding will be included when the Legislature meets in special session for flood relief was announced today by state Rep. Kory Kath, who is chief author of the bill.

Kath said Gov. Tim Pawlenty and legislators from both parties have agreed on the parameters of the bill, which will provide disaster funding for southern Minnesota counties hit hard by late September flooding. Total cost of the flood damage was expected to be at least $65 million, with the federal government likely to pick up 75 percent of the tab.

There also will be some money for Wadena, which suffered damage in a June tornado.

According to Kath — a DFLer from Owatonna, which was hit hard by the flood — the agreement calls for:

  • $10 million in Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) funding, which brings with it a
    60-75 percent federal match for flood mitigation
  • Funding for local and township roads, loans for individuals who were affected, Minnesota Investment Fund grants for local businesses, and a layer of accountability to ensure the funds are responsibly spent
  • Money for planning and design of a new community center in Wadena
  • Funding for the Department of Natural Resources to remove debris from bodies of water.

The governor will call a special session to enact the legislation as soon as President Obama issues a federal disaster declaration. That could come yet this week.

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