Special session is on 10/18

Gov. Pawlenty called a special session for October 18th at 1pm to provide disaster assistance to the 21 counties impacted by last month’s flooding.

Here’s some info sent by the governor’s office regarding damages and what’s in the bill:

The preliminary damage estimate was $64.1 million, though that figure will increase as more counties are added to the federal declaration and the damage assessment process continues.

During the Special Session, a bill will be presented that includes the state’s share of assistance for the counties affected by flooding last month. The legislation will also include assistance for areas of the state that were designated a federal disaster area in July as a result of tornados and severe storms that caused more than $35 million in damage.

The bill is paid for with $32.5 million from the General Fund, $26.7 million in General Obligation Bonds, $10 million from the state transportation fund, and $5 million from the Trunk Highway fund.

The flood relief provisions of the bill include:

·$15 million for damaged state highway infrastructure and local roads and bridges.

·$14 million to the Department of Natural Resources for flood hazard mitigation grants, clean-up of public waterways, and repair of river gauges, and the repair or relocation of the Oronoco dam.

· $12 million for the non-federal cost share. Under the terms of a disaster declaration, the federal government covers 75 percent of eligible costs and the state covers the remaining non-federal share.

· $10 million for the Minnesota Investment Fund, administered by the Department of Employment and Economic Development, to provide locally administered grants or loan programs to eligible organizations, including businesses, directly affected by the disaster. To increase accountability, DEED is required to report to the legislature before making any grants.

·$10 million for the Reinvest in Minnesota program to acquire easements from landowners on marginal lands in the disaster area to protect soil and water quality and to support fish and wildlife habitat.

·$4 million for the Quick Start program administered by Minnesota Housing. Quick Start helps homeowners who are unable to repair or rebuild their homes due to flood damage expenses that exceed private insurance and federal assistance. The program provides forgivable, no-interest loans for home repair, new construction or a comparable replacement home, mobile homes, or single-family rental repair.

·$4 million to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for livestock investment grants, organic certification assistance, forage production loss offsets for livestock producers, and no-interest disaster recovery loans.

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

·$523,000 for school districts that lost per-pupil funding or incurred increased transportation costs.

·$500,000 for the Public Finance Authority. The PFA makes low-interest loans and grants available to finance infrastructure that might otherwise be unaffordable to communities if they had to borrow money for the projects at market rates.

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

Provisions of the bill pertaining to areas declared a federal disaster (FEMA-1921-DR) in July include:

·$5.2 million for the non-federal cost share for eligible expenses from the July storms. Counties named in that federal declaration are Blue Earth, Brown, Houston, Kittson, Nicollet, Sibley, Faribault, Freeborn, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Polk, Steele and Wadena.

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

·$693,000 for school districts that incurred uninsured losses to buildings and equipment.

  • Nice set of handouts. Especially the list of funds NOT related to the flood disaster. Who are the special treats for? What ever happened to the adherence to and fidelity for The Minnesota Constitution? Article 4, Section 17 clearly states “Laws to embrace only one subject. No law shall embrace more than one subject, which shall be expressed in its title”.