Disasters declared for 24 counties, 2 tribal nations
Two dozen Minnesota counties and two tribal nations have been officially declared federal disaster areas as they work to clean up after early summer floods.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) expanded its disaster declaration for the state Friday to 24 counties and two tribal governments. Conditions in six other counties are still under FEMA review, including the Twin Cities region.
The new declaration, which will allow FEMA to shoulder 75 percent of the cleanup cost, includes: Beltrami, Blue Earth, Brown, Carver, Dodge, Faribault, Koochiching, Lac qui Parle, Lake of the Woods, Le Sueur, Marshall, Martin, McLeod, Nicollet, Redwood, Rice, Roseau, Scott, Sibley, Steele, Todd, Wadena, Waseca and Yellow Medicine counties, and the tribal governments of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa and Prairie Island Indian Community.
FEMA is still reviewing the requests for Dakota, Hennepin, Lyon, Ramsey, Watonwan and Wright. Eight other counties — Chippewa, Freeborn, Jackson, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Renville and Rock — received disaster declarations in June.
Jennifer Brooks @stribrooks
Tax abatement approved for professional companies
Hoping to lure new professional services to town or promote the growth of existing ones, the Albert Lea City Council has approved a new tax-abatement program.
The program targeting dental, medical, financial and other services will rebate a decreasing portion of taxes to eligible businesses over five years, with 90 percent rebated the first year, 80 percent the second, 70 percent the third, 60 percent the fourth and 50 percent the fifth.
Businesses have to meet certain thresholds to qualify, including creating five full-time jobs at 110 percent of the community’s median income level within the first two years and investing at least $250,000 in capital improvements.
The idea promotes “trying to create some higher paying jobs in the community,” said city manager Chad Adams. “There’s always discretion from the city to approve or not approve a certain proposal.”
Pam Louwagie @pamlouwagie
MnDOT offers update on new Hwy. 53 route