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TJ Jerke, Forum News Service, Published June 11 2013

Emergency Commission approves nearly $40 million

BISMARCK – Record-setting rainfall since mid-May has caused an estimated $7.5 million worth of damages in North Dakota, the commander of the state’s National Guard said Tuesday.

Adjutant General Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, who oversees the Department of Emergency Services and National Guard, said he’s glad the rain has subsided more recently, although there are still water issues around the state.

“If we have a repeat of the last three weeks we could have significant damage on top of what we already have,” he said.

Money to help cover costs from the rain damage was one of four requests totalling $40 million total that were approved Tuesday by the state’s Emergency Commission.

The requests would cover disaster relief efforts dating back to 2009 up to this spring’s heavy rainfall.

Sprynczynatyk will have to obtain final authorization from lawmakers during a June 18 meeting before he can receive any funding.

If approved, the funding will include:

E $13.9 million from the state disaster relief fund relating to costs incurred during 2009 flooding.

E A total of $12.5 million from the state disaster relief fund to help cover costs from 2011 flooding. This includes $1.4 million for relief and mitigation projects in cities, $4.7 million for grants to political subdivisions for road grade projects and $6.2 million for grants to cities and counties for flood-impacted housing rehabilitation and retention.

E $5.1 million for the Red River Valley flood disaster in April and May of this year.

E $7.5 million for disaster expenses from the above normal rains beginning May 17.

Sprynczynatyk also said Tuesday he is preparing a request for Gov. Jack Dalrymple to send to President Barack Obama to obtain an emergency declaration for the recent rains. The request is needed for the state to receive funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

FEMA contributes 75 percent to the total cost of a project, with the state picking up 10 percent and local subdivisions covering 15 percent of the total cost.

If approved, the emergency declaration will be the second the state has received this year after Dalrymple asked for a declaration to help with flood mitigation efforts along the Red River Valley this spring.

The Emergency Commission is a six-member group consisting of the governor, secretary of state, House and Senate majority leaders and budget committee chairmen.

Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley filled in for Gov. Jack Dalrymple while he is on a trade mission in Norway.