Minnesota legislators will be called to the State Capitol building in St. Paul early next month to help distribute millions in state and federal funds to those impacted by summer storms that rolled through the state in June.
Last week, Gov. Mark Dayton called the special session for Sept. 9, 2013, in response to a Federal Disaster Declaration signed by President Barack Obama back on July 25.
The relief appropriations bill will deliver about $5.7 million in local dollars to counties hit by storms in June, including Hennepin County.
Obama declared a major disaster for 17 other Minnesota counties as well: Benton, Big Stone, Douglas, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Grant, Houston, McLeod, Morrison, Pope, Sibley, Stearns, Stevens, Swift, Traverse and Wilkin.
The session will not include discussion on the repeal of three major taxes enacted in July and August, the result of the 2013 session, as GOP members of the Legislature had hoped.
Dayton, in his original draft calling for the special session, said he was open to repealing a tax on farm machinery repairs, rolling back about $29 million in taxes, according to the state auditor.
Republicans were looking for two more tax items - tax on telecom equipment purchases and on warehouse improvements - on top of the farm tax. That would have cut $314 million from the rolls.
Dayton said budget revenues would have covered the $30 million rollback on farm equipment, but said the GOP's "all or nothing" approach to the discussion would have held up the session.
June 2013 Storms
Preliminary damage assessments determined the storms caused $17.8 million in damage to public infrastructure across the state. Communities in the affected counties are now eligible for federal assistance.
The major disaster declaration is for Public Assistance which covers uninsured eligible projects submitted by counties, cities, townships and certain private, not-for-profit organizations.
Preliminary damage estimates compiled by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Homeland Security and Emergency Management division (HSEM) showed the following eligible amounts:
• Debris Removal - $5 million
• Emergency Protective Measures - $1.8 million
Permanent work to repair
• Roads and Bridges - $9 million
• Water Control Facilities - $1 million
• Buildings and Equipment - $243,474
• Utilities - $585,615
• Parks, Recreational Facilities and other items - $73,780
FEMA will reimburse 75 percent of approved costs. The 25 percent non-federal share is the responsibility of state and local governments, which the state auditor's office estimates at about $5.7 million.
This disaster declaration also includes funding for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. This is assistance for actions taken to prevent or reduce long term risk to life and property from natural hazards. All counties in the state are eligible to apply for assistance under this program.
The storm system began with 5.6 inches of rain in Stevens County on June 20 and ended with 8.25 inches of rain in Wilkin County on June 26. Parts of the state saw record 48-hour rainfall amounts. One to two inch-per-hour rainfall caused flash flooding and mudslides in many locations. Thousands of trees were uprooted and fell on public buildings and roads. At the peak, 600,000 buildings were without electricity, making it the largest power outage in Minnesota history.
Related articles on Southwest Minneapolis Patch:
- One Month Later, Minneapolis Continues Storm Cleanup Efforts
- Twin Cities Storm Stories
- Some in Southwest Minneapolis Still Don't Have Power
- Minneapolis Working to Clear Debris After Weekend Storms
- Wood Chips from Storm Debris Now Available to Residents