Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday asked that counties damaged by floods last month be declared a presidential disaster area.
Dayton also added 16 counties to the state disaster list, meaning 51 of Minnesota’s 87 counties reported damage from flooding that began June 11.
If President Barack Obama honors Dayton’s request, state and local government will get federal money to pay 75 percent of flood-related costs. The state will pay the rest.
Dayton said that eight mostly rural counties — Chippewa, Freeborn, Jackson, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Renville and Rock — have reported $10.8 million damage to public facilities. Minnesota needed to record at least $7.3 million to qualify for federal aid.
However, the governor said, 31 counties and one American Indian tribe so far have reported more than $55 million in costs, so total damages are expected to rise substantially as more damage reports come in.
Federal money only is available for government infrastructure damage and costs of fighting floods. Any help for private homes and business owners would come from other programs, but it is not clear if that will be available.