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Gov. Mark Dayton said its unclear exactly when the special session will be held. He plans to send a request to President Barack Obama today for a disaster declaration, which will allow local governments to apply for federal aid for clean up and rebuilding.

Dayton: There will be a special session for flood relief

Gov. Mark Dayton (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

Gov. Mark Dayton says he will call a special session to pass disaster relief for northern Minnesota, which was ravaged by floods last week.

Dayton told reporters at the state Capitol that state lawmakers will need to approve funding to address damage to public infrastructure.

The first step is to have President Obama issue a disaster declaration for the area that was besieged by floods on the night of June 19. The state and local governments will have to pay 25 percent of the costs of repair, with the federal government picking up the rest. In recent disasters, such as the 2009 floods in southeastern Minnesota, the state paid for the entire 25 percent. The damage to roads and other public infrastructure is estimated at $108 million, although Dayton said the number could increase when the assessment is complete.

Earlier today, Dayton met with his cabinet members, legislative leaders,  Duluth Mayor Don Ness, and former Duluth senator and Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon to discuss the application for the federal declaration. The application was submitted on Friday. Dayton said he’s confident the application will be approved by the Federal Emergency Management Administration in one to two weeks. The application will also request assistance for flood damage in southern Minnesota that occurred about five days before the northeastern storm.

Assistance for individuals and small businesses will need to be applied for separately from the federal government. The special session will also likely involve funding for things the federal government doesn’t cover.

“We’ll have to figure out where the holes are and the gaps are and how much it amounts to,” Dayton said.



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