ST. PAUL— Following weeks of working with storm victims and community leaders who were devastated by flooding, State Representative Steve Drazkowski (R-Wabasha) was pleased to help approve a much-needed relief package to southeastern Minnesota. Governor Pawlenty recently called a special legislative session so lawmakers could approve the legislation.
“Flooding in our region has had a disastrous affect on countless families whose homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed,” Drazkowski said. “The main goal of this flood relief legislation is to help jump-start the recovery process for those who were affected by this summer’s flood waters, and I was pleased to help put this plan into action.”
The nearly $150 million package is dedicated to flood disaster relief in Winona, Wabasha, Dodge, Fillmore, Houston, Olmsted and Steele counties – which have all been declared federal disaster areas. Much of this funding will be used to:
• Provide relief to home and business owners impacted by the flood
• Replace and rehabilitate damaged bridges and highways
• Remove debris
• Repair and replace storm sewers and wastewater plants
• Provide student enrollment impact aid and school cleanup assistance to affected school districts
The bill will also extend the property tax filing deadline for businesses impacted by the flood.
Drazkowski said livestock producers will also benefit from the relief package. They could receive up to a maximum of $5000 in grants for lost forage or feed if their operations are located in a flood or drought disaster area. Applicants would have to prove a documented loss due to flooding or drought in 2007, and any payment would be made on a per-head animal basis.
“Our neighbors and our communities have truly come together during this time of tragedy, and now lawmakers have provided them with needed support,” Drazkowski said. “It is my hope that this flood-relief package will help all of these communities get back on track.”