First Bill of Biennium Helps Communities Recovering From Floods

The Flood Relief Bill was heard in the Finance Committee this week. This bill appropriates state funding, matched by federal funds which will ensure that communities hard-hit by damaging flooding last year can continue to recover and rebuild damaged infrastructure and public assets.

To help ensure these communities rebuild and recover, FEMA has made available a 75% match if the state can provide 25% of the funding for disaster assistance. An amendment in the Finance Committee increased the state’s appropriation to $9.635 million. Although many of the communities hit with damaging flooding qualified for federal assistance, several communities suffered serious damage from the flooding, but did not qualify for that assistance. In line with historical precedent, S.F. 1 provides $1.4 million for those areas not receiving federal assistance to help these communities recover.

An additional state appropriation of $3 million will be utilized for a matching grant from the Federal Highway Administration to finish much-needed repairs on washed-out roads and other infrastructure. Farmland across the state was also damaged by the flooding. The Board of Water and Soil Resources will receive $2.476 million for erosion, sediment, and water quality control to ensure that land quality is restored for Minnesota farmers.

All told, the state is appropriating approximately $15.1 million for disaster relief in this legislation. An amendment in the Finance Committee canceled unspent and unneeded money from previous disaster relief appropriations, resulting in this legislation having zero-net cost. (S.F. 1)

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