Hennepin and Ramsey counties now qualify for federal disaster aid in the wake of severe storms, flooding and mudslides earlier this summer. Gov. Mark Dayton announced Thursday the Federal Emergency Management Agency added the two counties to the federal disaster declaration, bringing the total to 37 counties and three tribal governments.
Dakota County is still waiting to see if it will be included in the federal disaster declaration. Officials in the city of Mendota remain concerned about the possibility of a landslide where a road cracked above several houses.
Disaster declarations for all three were delayed in part by high water and questions over whether damage to public infrastructure was really caused by the bad weather between June 11 and July 11.
"I am very pleased that Hennepin and Ramsey counties have now been included in the FEMA emergency designation, and I am hopeful that Dakota county will also qualify," Dayton said in a statement. "However, if it does not, it is eligible for the state emergency disaster assistance program, which the Legislature passed last spring."
The Minnesota Legislature set aside $3 million to cover potential storm damage.
FEMA pays 75 percent of approved costs to repair or replace disaster-damaged facilities, like roads and bridges. Federal grants also may help compensate governments and nonprofits for work they did to protect property from damage.
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman thanked the governor and members of Minnesota's Congressional delegation who pressured the federal government to include Ramsey county along with the others.
Coleman said now St. Paul and the city's Port Authority were "eligible for approximately $2.7 million in federal support as we continue working to restore our city."