State’s share denial over principle, not principal | News, Sports, Jobs
NEW ULM — As part of a consortium of counties appealing the state’s refusal to pay funds for disaster relief, the Brown County Board voted Tuesday to step over the heads of bureaucrats and ask Gov. Tim Walz to intervene.
At the request of Commissioner Dave Borchert of New Ulm, supported by Tony Berg of rural New Ulm, the board unanimously approved a resolution by Walz to intervene in relation to the state’s refusal to grant a 20% cost share to four state-declared disasters to be paid, including funds to repair county-owned roads and bridges in 2018-20.
District Engineer Wayne Stevens said the district is “out” approximately $740 in denied government funds out of the $3.3 million total denied. Brown County’s ownership is relatively small, but Stevens told The Journal that the county basically just wants to be part of the effort to get the funds back.
“The state does not obey its laws. Together we have a stronger voice.” Borchert said.
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 the Minnesota County Engineers Association write to them to share concerns about the Ministry of Public Security and its denial of funds from the Emergency Disaster Relief Account.
The Federal Road Administration paid 80% of the permanent emergency repairs. The state was supposed to pay the other 20% but turned down the request.
Carlton County passed a resolution asking Walz to stand up for them and requested the other 14 counties to pass a resolution.
According to the letter, DACA has approximately $30 million in uncommitted funds and the urgent events (emergency repairs) are now eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding.
When applications for funding for county road and bridge repair projects began in 2020, the DPS denied the applications due to more pressing events such as COVID-19 and civil unrest, according to a May 2 letter from Walz.
Since 2018, pending state reimbursement, the 15 counties have spent approximately $3.3 million in the form of a 20% cost-sharing arrangement and have not received committed funds from DACA.
Walz is running for a second term as governor in November.
(Fritz Busch can be contacted by email at [email protected])