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County seeks higher power after denial

State denies sharing cost of disaster assistance

NEW ULM — The Brown County Board will consider a resolution Tuesday requesting intervention by Gov. Tim Walz regarding the state’s refusal to pay 20% for four state-declared disasters, including funds to repair county-owned roads and bridges between 2018-20.

Brown County and 14 other counties — Carlton, Cottonwood, Grant, Lyon, Marshall, Murray, Nicollet, Norman, Polk, Redwood, Renville, Rock, Wadena, and Winona — the Association of Minnesota Counties and Minnesota County Engineers Association are writing to share concerns with the Department of Public Safety’s denial of Disaster Assistance Contingency Account funds.

The Federal Highway Administration paid 80% of the permanent emergency repairs. The state was supposed to pay the other 20% but denied the request.

Carlton County passed a resolution asking Walz to intercede on its behalf and asked the other 14 counties to do the same.

According to the letter, DACA has about $30 million in unobligated funds, and the emergency repairs are now eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency funding.

When the requests for funding reimbursement for county road and bridge repair projects began in 2020, the DPS denied the requests due to more pressing events, such as COVID-19 and civil unrest, according to a May 2 letter from to Walz.

In good faith, the 15 counties spent about $3.3 million in 20% cost share since 2018 and have not been provided with pledged funding from DACA.

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