Dayton says he will send Northland disaster request to Obama todayUPDATE: With flood damage estimates now at $108 million for public infrastructure alone, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said he’ll send a request to President Obama today for a disaster declaration for the Northland.
With flood damage estimates now at $108 million for public infrastructure alone, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said he’ll send a request to President Obama today for a disaster declaration for the Northland.
“I have no doubt it will be approved by the president and signed,” Dayton said. “It’s a question of when. It’s typically two weeks, but we’ll see if we can shorten that.”
Dayton made the announcement after a visit to Duluth, where he met with numerous area officials to get an update on the damage and recovery. The declaration will pave the way for local governments and possibly others to apply for federal aid to help cover cleanup and restoration costs.
“We all recognize the urgency of the situation,” Dayton said. “Everybody’s taken the time, made the effort to see firsthand what the needs are. And like all the citizens here, (they’ve) been overwhelmed by the scope of the disaster.”
Dayton also said there will be a special session to allocate funds for flood relief, though he didn’t say when.
“We’ll have a special session as soon as we get the information together to assess correctly what needs to be done and where the money needs to be directed,” he said.
The declaration will pave the way for local governments and possibly others to apply for federal aid to help cover cleanup and restoration costs.
About half of the damage to public infrastructure was in Duluth. Mayor Don Ness said damage estimates are about $51 million.
He said city officials still are trying to tally damage to private property.
“It’s absolutely critical that we have people document the damage that they have and report it in,” Ness said. “And they can report it in through 211. The more households that have had damage and call it in, the greater likelihood that we will qualify for the individual assistance.”
If the area qualifies for individual disaster assistance, homeowners could see up to $31,000 in federal aid.
A second application for that assistance would have to come through Dayton. He said today that damage estimates still need to be tallied before that request can be made.
“It’s going to take a little more time to get that information from businesses and homeowners around the area,” he said. “As soon as we think we have most of the scope of the problem, we’ll submit that to FEMA.”