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Published June 21, 2011, 08:19 PM

North Dakota flood damages could top $90 million

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The commander of North Dakota's National Guard estimated Tuesday it will cost $90 million or more to repair roads, parks and other public works from damage caused during spring and summer flooding.

Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, speaking to the Legislature's Budget Section, said the estimate was made before forecasts that parts of the city of Minot will be overwhelmed by the flooding Souris River this weekend.

The Souris and the Missouri River, which has flooded parts of Bismarck and Mandan, are experiencing historic floods that are forecast to occur only once every 500 years, Sprynczynatyk said.

"What we're experiencing is, literally, nothing short of incredible and phenomenal," Sprynczynatyk said. "This is truly an incredible event."

The Budget Section includes members of the budget-writing committees in the North Dakota House and Senate. It meets every three months for briefings on state spending and major projects. Committee members also attempt to gauge spending demands for the next legislative session.

Sprynczynatyk said his $90 million estimate did not include the cost of damage to private property.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is likely to pay up to 75 percent of the repair costs, or $67.5 million. If the damage is more extensive, the federal reimbursement could reach 90 percent.

The Budget Section voted Tuesday to grant Sprynczynatyk's request for use of $23.5 million in state disaster reserves set aside by the 2011 Legislature.

The move exhausts the available money in the disaster fund for the next two years, although lawmakers could replenish the fund in November, when they are scheduled to hold a short special session of the Legislature.

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