Editorial: Funding cleanup is getting messy

Published 9:45 am Friday, April 26, 2013

No one said cleanup from the nasty storms of nearly two weeks ago was going to be easy, but we can’t help but wonder if some of the processes in place to get federal funding are at least a little too complex.

Today marks 10 days since Gov. Mark Dayton, U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and U.S. Rep. Tim Walz — along with a host of other officials — descended upon Worthington and other southwest Minnesota communities. They promised to do all they could to ensure we got the federal money we needed and deserved for cleanup. Yet, we still wait for money — and, in many cases for answers.

Worthington City Administrator Craig Clark expressed some frustration on the matter during a special Friday city council meeting. “We, unfortunately, had to do more questioning of our state disaster folks than having them come to the table and tell us what we need to know about this or about that,” Clark said.

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In working with the state in order to secure Federal Emergency Management Agency dollars, Worthington and other municipalities have had to follow many “by-the-book” types of instructions. The impression we’ve gotten, though, is that these instructions have sometimes been inaccessible, unclear or both — which in turn slows down efforts to get things done efficiently as well as correctly so that FEMA money be received.

At the end of Monday, work hours for private contractors hired after Worthington Mayor Alan Oberloh signed an emergency declaration were likely to be used up. City crews can continue work, but private contractors can’t until the awarding of a new bid (likely Wednesday). We can only hope that murky rules and procedures don’t further inhibit our city from keeping the cleanup going and getting the job done.

— Worthington Daily Globe, April 23

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