Flooding cost to taxpayer: $509MBISMARCK (AP) — North Dakota’s National Guard commander said Thursday the cost to taxpayers of the state’s spring and summer flooding will run about $509 million, mostly to repair damaged roads and public works.
BISMARCK (AP) — North Dakota’s National Guard commander said Thursday the cost to taxpayers of the state’s spring and summer flooding will run about $509 million, mostly to repair damaged roads and public works.
Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk told a North Dakota legislative committee that public works damage in the Souris River area alone totaled almost $200 million.
The flooding Souris damaged more than 4,000 homes in Minot and swamped much of Burlington, a rural community to the northeast.
Sprynczynatyk said the total included $92 million in aid payments to individual flood victims. The estimate did not include the cost of repairing damage to private homes and property, which Sprynczynatyk said would be a much larger figure.
The Budget Section committee, which includes North Dakota legislative leaders and members of the appropriations committees in the state House and Senate, had requested the information in advance of the Legislature’s November special session.
Lawmakers expect to be debating ways to provide aid to flood-ravaged regions during the special session, and wanted estimates of what it might cost to repair public facilities.
Most of the $509 million tab will be paid by the federal government. Sprynczynatyk estimated that the state’s share would run about $38
Pam Sharp, North Dakota’s budget director, told lawmakers that summer income and sales tax collections through August had been strong. Increased oil production in western North Dakota’s oil-producing region deserved credit for a majority of the increase, she said.
She said she expected sales tax collections to rise because of flood-recovery spending.
In August alone, the state collected $84.3 million in sales tax, which was more than $20 million more than analysts expected, Sharp said. “This was an exceptionally strong month,” she said.
Sen. Randy Christmann, R-Hazen, said although farm commodity prices are strong, too much rain and flooding prevented many farmers from planting or harvesting a crop. He expects that will hurt state tax collections, Christmann said.
“Is that taken into consideration, that we have a good price for something that we have very little of to sell?” he asked.
Sharp said she did not know how state revenues would be affected by lost farm production because of flooding.
“The prices are good, or they were good. The production in some parts (of North Dakota) is very bad. There was a flood impact, but there was crop insurance,” she said. “I really don’t know how that is all going to shake out.”