Red River Valley cities plea for more flood mitigation fundsby Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio
Moorhead, Minn. — Minnesota legislators toured flood mitigation projects in Moorhead Friday and listened to several mayors plead for more money to fight floods.
Moorhead Mayor Mark Voxland told lawmakers money spent to buy flood prone homes is an investment. Voxland said local residents and businesses suffer every time the city fights another flood.
"We can't put a city of 38,000 in jeopardy every spring," Voxland said. "Our economy comes to a screeching halt. So when we start talking about flood protection it isn't just to protect homes. It's to protect this economy we have going in this part of Minnesota."
Moorhead has received about $25 million in state hazard mitigation funds over the past two years. Voxland said the city needs another $16.5 million to finish its short term flood protection projects.
Traci Gobel, mayor of Georgetown, a small town north of Moorhead, said the community is forced to build expensive emergency levees every year because it doesn't have adequate permanent levees. She is asking for $3.5 million.
"One time, so you don't have to keep coming in to my community and spending $100,000 a day. Sending in the National Guard to patrol. I'm begging for your help. This has got to stop at some point. It's ridiculous," Gobel said.
Lawmakers heard requests from several cities along the Red River for state hazard mitigation funds to build higher levees.