ST. PAUL, MINN. – Senator John Hoffman representing Champlin, Coon Rapids and Brooklyn Park, announced that $4.5 million in disaster relief has been re-appropriated to help provide assistance to more than a dozen central and southern Minnesota counties, including Hennepin County.
“I’m happy the DFL and Republicans could come together to help provide some relief to hard-hit counties throughout the state. This action will also cause $13.5 million in federal aid to be released to these counties,” Senator Hoffman said. Hennepin County sustained close to $4.6 million in damages from storms that rolled through the region in June of 2013.
As part of the State Senate’s ‘paying as we go’ motto – the money appropriated on Monday in a special legislative session is being re-allocated from last session’s disaster relief bill.
Monday’s special session is the sixth session of its kind since 1997 and will cost taxpayers an estimated $33,000. In order to avoid future special sessions where members are only voting on allocating disaster relief funds, Senator Hoffman is co-authoring a bill to take up the Office of the Legislative Auditor’s recommendations to establish a dedicated account and criteria for its use, to fund initial recovery costs.
The recommendations include creating a permanent fund that state officials can draw from whenever the state needs to match federal disaster relief funds. If implemented, these changes could reduce the need for costly disaster-related special sessions in the future, therefore helping save taxpayer dollars.