ST. PAUL – In response to the fire that destroyed North Star Foods in St. Charles last week, State Representative Steve Drazkowski (R-Wabasha) said he is working with legislative leaders and the Governor’s Office to identify programs that will assist the company and the city during this time of tragedy.
“I’ve been in contact with Governor Pawlenty and the chairs of our House finance committees and all are ready and willing to lend their support,” Drazkowski said.
Drazkowski said that besides helping secure employment assistance for the 250 North Star Foods workers who were displaced by the blaze, he’s also investigating the types of economic development assistance that may be available to help St. Charles and the company, and hopes to provide them with a list of options in the coming days.
Drazkowski is also talking with the Chair of the House K-12 Education Finance Committee about a proposal that would provide special declining pupil aid to the St. Charles School District due to an enrollment decline resulting from the North Star Foods fire.
This provision was successfully implemented in the Albert Lea School District following a 2002 fire at Farmland Foods – because once the Farmland students left the district, it permanently lost state aid.
“Minnesota has a history of providing emergency school funding to school districts that suffer a calamity due to acts of God, and the North Star Foods catastrophe certainly qualifies,” Drazkowski said.