Updated: 07/22/2014 9:10 AM
Created: 07/21/2014 4:23 PM KSTP.com
By: Beth McDonough
Gov. Mark Dayton announced Minnesota has officially been declared a major disaster area on Monday, which comes after widespread flooding across the state this summer.
President Obama's declaration means federal funding is available to state and local governments, along with certain private nonprofit organizations, for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by severe storms, winds, flooding, landslides, and mudslides.
In June, the Department of Natural Resources said the areas were swamped by historic flooding.
Eight counties included in the declaration are: Chippewa, Freeborn, Jackson, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Renville and Rock. This number is expected to increase as new damage assessments are submitted.
The declaration means $37 million worth of federal help is on the way. That's on top of local and state aid. The federal government will cover 75 percent of repair and recovery costs as the state picks up the rest.
FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is still doing damage surveys in other parts of the state. Given that, the governor was asked about the timing of the request, and why they are not waiting until all the counties have been examined.
"I don't want to hold up reimbursements that make local governments hold for expenditures they make," Gov. Dayton replied.
According to most recent preliminary damage assessment figures from FEMA, Minnesota shows these eligible expenses:
The state has already received $5 million in Federal Highway Administration emergency funds.
For the next few days officials from the Department of Public Safety are holding meetings with eight more counties to explain the process of requesting help. Applications have to be made within 30 days.