During the 2013 Special Session
Monday, Sept. 9, the Minnesota legislature held a special session to address disaster relief for communities across the state impacted by severe storms, high winds, and flooding between June 20 and 26, 2013. State Senator Michelle Fischbach (R-Paynesville) voted in support of state aid for disaster relief.
“We have a rich tradition of supporting Minnesota communities and I am glad we worked together to provide disaster relief,” said Senator Fischbach. “Stearns County experienced approximately $550,000 in damages due to this storm.”
More than 600,000 homes and businesses throughout Minnesota lost electricity, making this the largest power outage in state history. Some utility customers were without light, refrigeration, climate control, and many amenities for as long as a week. Widespread road closures disrupted travel for residents, farmers, truckers, postal delivery, and emergency services with whole cities being isolated until water receded and debris could be cleared.
The damage estimate for Minnesota from the storm is $17,880,840. President Barack Obama signed a federal disaster declaration which paved the way for federal aid for recovery and rebuilding efforts and will contribute approximately $13.4 million. However, it must be partly matched by a $4.5 million state contribution (25 percent) which requires legislative authorization. These funds will be available to local governments for their emergency work including repair or replacement of facilities damaged in the storms, debris removal, protective measures, and repair of roads, bridges, and water control faculties. Funds will be limited to public and utility infrastructure and no individual assistance has been requested or authorized. Money for the state’s contribution will come from transferring unused funds from previous state disasters.
Eighteen counties were included in the federal disaster declaration and will receive assistance. They include Benton, Big Stone, Douglas, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Grant, Hennepin, Houston, McLeod, Morrison, Pope, Sibley, Stearns, Stevens, Swift, Traverse, and Wilkin.