ST. PAUL – Meeker is among 10 Minnesota counties set to receive a combined $5.5 million in relief from the State Public Disaster Assistance Contingency Account after severe thunderstorms caused significant public property damage July 9-11.
Gov. Mark Dayton issued a letter to Minnesota’s Homeland Security & Emergency Management Division on Tuesday to authorize the funding. Aitkin, Benton, Carlton, Crow Wing, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine and Traverse counties also were included in the governor’s declaration.
A series of strong storms pummeled Central Minnesota during that three-day period in July. The storms included extreme rain fall amounts, high winds and serious damage, particularly in Watkins and Litchfield.
“Local officials and utilities workers have done their part during the initial response and now this state funding will assist in relieving counties, townships and small cities of the costs associated with recovery efforts,” said Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township. “This is precisely the type of situation we were addressing when we recently established this disaster contingency fund. This new mechanism eliminates the need to call a special session in order to provide relief funds and allows a more efficient response.”
State disaster contingency funds kick in when public infrastructure damage within a county reaches 50 percent of a predetermined amount based on a formula that accounts for the population of the county. Once the damage level reaches or exceeds 50 percent of the counties’ individual damage threshold, then 75 percent of eligible costs for public infrastructure repairs and clean-up may be reimbursed by the state, with local units of government picking up the remaining 25 percent.