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Associated Press , Published October 14 2013

Application process opens for Minot flood grants

MINOT, N.D. — Homeowners in Minot affected by the Souris River flooding in 2011 can begin applying for grants to help with repair costs, while the city prepares to buy out more homes to make way for a flood protection project.

The grant application period opened Monday and runs through the end of the year for up to $10,000 in reimbursements for eligible homeowners hurt by the flood that damaged or destroyed more than 4,000 homes, businesses and other structures two years ago. The flooding caused by heavy spring snowmelt and rains caused an estimated $690 million in damage.

"What we look at is what your total need was," City Finance Director Cindy Hemphill told KXMC-TV. "Say your damages were $50,000 and you got $30,000 from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and you didn't get any additional funds, you still would have about $20,000 that would be eligible for potential reimbursement."

Certain restrictions apply, but unlike previous flood-recovery grant programs, low-to-moderate income requirements apply to only about half of the federal money available, city spokesman Bob Lindee said in a statement. That means all homeowners with repair costs due to the flood are eligible to apply, regardless of their income.

Minot received a federal grant of $35 million last May, in addition to about $67 million received and allocated last year. The city is spending about $5 million this year on home repair reimbursements.

More home acquisitions also will be initiated in the Souris River valley in coming weeks with the North Dakota State Water Commission's recent approval of requests from the city of Minot and Ward County, according to the Minot Daily News.

The state commission approved the city's request for $24.4 million to buy 113 homes, which then will be demolished to make room for a flood protection project. Voluntary acquisition offers will be made to homeowners.

Ward County did not request any additional funds but was given permission to use leftover, previously approved funds of $278,000 to acquire 21 parcels of land. It will be the fourth and final phase of voluntary acquisitions, said Assistant County Engineer Travis Schmit.

In previous acquisition rounds, the county bought 45 houses and two lots. The city so far has purchased 82 homes. The city will not be making additional purchase offers until the federal government shutdown ends.


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