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Dayton Meets with Emergency Managers on Flooding

Updated: 06/24/2014 4:22 PM
Created: 06/23/2014 2:05 PM KSTP.com
By: Jennie Olson

Gov. Mark Dayton is making the rounds of more Minnesota cities along flood-swollen rivers to meet with emergency managers and local elected officials.

He stopped in Delano, which has been flooded by the Crow River, Tuesday morning. Dayton's itinerary for the day also included stops in Chaska and Belle Plaine on the Minnesota River, and Mendota on the Mississippi River.

Dayton announced a state of emergency has been extended another 30 days for 35 counties after flooding wreaked havoc across the state last week. Dayton says extending the declaration will ensure the state is ready to respond quickly as the disaster unfolds.

Counties in the state of emergency include: Beltrami, Blue Earth, Brown, Dodge, Faribault, Freeborn, Goodhue, Grant, Hubbard, Jackson, Lake of the Woods, Le Sueur, Lyon, Koochiching, McLeod, Morrison, Mower, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Pipestone, Ramsey, Redwood, Renville, Rice, Rock, Roseau, Saint Louis, Scott, Sibley, Steele, Todd and Waseca.

Dayton says he's unsure whether he'll need to call a special legislative session to approve state aid to flood damaged communities. He says he expects a new $3 million disaster assistance account will be exhausted but says he views a special session is a "last recourse." Minnesota Public Radio News reports Dayton says he's still committed to getting help to communities, farmers, business and families as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced Monday that $750,000 in emergency relief funds from the Federal Highway Administration is available to repair roads damaged by floods last week.

“These funds are a down payment to help Minnesotans begin repairing roads damaged in last week’s flooding,” Foxx said. “One of the first steps in getting repairs underway is to make funds available, and we are working to ensure the state can get the necessary work started quickly.”

The city of St. Paul is the latest city to declare a state of emergency. The announcement about St. Paul comes after the Mississippi River reached major flood stage over the weekend; city officials filed the paperwork Monday morning.

The flooding has taken a financial toll on the St. Paul community. Damages to taxpayers are rising, and the city has had to add staffing to safety enforcement, debris removal crews and the Emergency Operations Call Center, according to spokeswoman Tonya Tennessen.

The declaration allows the city to request federal reimbursement. The city was able to get funds from FEMA in 2011, when the river crest was lower than the projected crest of 20.5 feet on Wednesday.

The St. Paul City Council will revisit the issue during a meeting Wednesday.


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