Flood Repair Funding; Ten Months Later

By KBJR News 1

April 24, 2013 Updated Apr 24, 2013 at 6:55 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Duluth officials have some concerns about how best to get state funding to help people still struggling with flood damage.

As efforts are in the Minnesota's legislature to address those needs a debate has arisen over where the money should come from.

Its been more than ten months since parts of the Northland suffered major damage from an historic flood.

Mayor Don Ness says northland officials are discussing the urgency of funding needs with state lawmakers during this legislative session.

The mayor says there are many moving parts to flood relief and he wants to make sure the interests of those living in Northeastern Minnesota are protected.

Ness says Senator Roger Reinert has proposed legislation that will move relief housing dollars into more accessible funds to meet the needs of residents who are not qualifying though Federal flood relief eligibility.

At the same time the mayor is concerned about a bill in the House that would move Minnesota investment funding dollars from the flood relief fund to the general fund.

Ness says he is urging the state legislature to reject that proposal to keep those dollars within the flood relief bill...because there are still so many projects that still need easy access to funding.

"We are urging restraint from the legislature not to take those dollars and reallocate those dollars from the flood relief bill. There will be a time when we can take that assessment but that will likely be in the next legislative year and not this year," Duluth Mayor Don Ness said.

Mayor Ness says moving money from the flood relief fund to the general fund would slow the completion of time sensitive projects.

Experts project that the flood recovery process is expected to take two years.

Ness says administrative work during this construction season will take place, but repairs are expected to last well into 2014.

St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg has concerns as well.

Dahlberg says the devastation from the flood has left a long lasting impact in the county and repairs will take time.

That's true and that's a major concern because the mayor says if these homes are left in dis–repair they could become eyesores, negatively impacting tourism.

Justin Reis, NNC.
jreis@kbjr.com