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Published April 04, 2012, 10:36 AM

Minot mayor says more federal flood money needed

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Federal flood recovery aid is not enough to meet the needs of Minot and Burlington as they recover from record Souris River flooding last year, officials in those cities say.

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Federal flood recovery aid is not enough to meet the needs of Minot and Burlington as they recover from record Souris River flooding last year, officials in those cities say.

"The current level of federal aid is appreciated yet leaves us still hundreds of millions of dollars short of meeting the need in Minot," Mayor Curt Zimbelman said during a U.S. Senate Budget Committee field hearing in the city on Tuesday.

Zimbelman estimated Minot's unmet flood recovery needs in the range of $1 billion, including the city's $543 million share of a proposed $820 million flood control project to guard against a repeat of the historic 2011 flood. More than 4,000 homes and businesses in North Dakota's fourth-largest city were swamped and thousands of people were forced to evacuate.

Nearby Burlington, a smaller city of about 1,000 people but one that could grow because of the western North Dakota oil boom, also was hit hard by flooding. City Engineer Ryan Ackerman said Burlington has $56 million in unmet recovery needs.

"With approximately 40 percent of Burlington's residents directly impacted by the flood, and with market forces potentially increasing Burlington's population by up to 500 percent, the strain on the city of Burlington is real, and it is significant," Ackerman said.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said federal flood recovery assistance for Minot and Ward County totals about $535 million to date. But Hoeven and other members of the state's congressional delegation said officials need to make a case for more federal funding.

"It's absolutely essential that we have a plan that's credible and has funding sources identified," said Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple said that to convince legislators to tap into more state funds, "I think we need to show that we have accessed all other potential sources of financing that are out there."

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