Politics

Minneapolis Mayor Seeks $55m In Aid For Damage Caused By Riots

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From WWW.STARTRIBUNE.COM

With at least $55 million in estimated damage and far more to come, Minneapolis will need state and federal aid as it attempts to rebuild hundreds of structures after the riots following George Floyd’s death, Mayor Jacob Frey said.

City officials are still putting together a complete tally of the destruction and cautioned that estimates are likely to rise significantly. Gov. Tim Walz and members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation are trying to get government assistance to offset that cost. But in the past, neither the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) nor Congress has consistently sent federal funding to cities ravaged by riots.

Minneapolis City Council members on Tuesday received an update from the city’s Community Planning & Economic Development department that estimated at least 220 buildings had been damaged, resulting in a minimum of $55 million in costs, though the city was “not yet ready to produce a credible estimate” of the losses.

Frey said in an interview that he expects the full cost of the damage to be “tens, if not hundreds of millions” of dollars, across both Twin Cities.

“We will do everything we can as we shift to recovery mode,” Frey said. “We’re recovering from crises sandwiched on top of each other, from COVID-19 to the police killing and then the looting which took place afterward.”

Walz said Tuesday that he is pushing for funding to rebuild damaged communities. His administration has been talking to U. S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, as well as U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar and Betty McCollum, who represent the Twin Cities. Walz said they have had conversations about seeking federal assistance to rebuild communities and “we have expressed some of our desires to explore what we can do there.”

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey calls on Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman to charge the arresting officer in the death of George Floyd as he speaks during a news conference Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at City Hall in Minneapolis.

After the 2015 riots in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan repeatedly sought about $19 million in aid from FEMA for public agencies that responded to the unrest. At the time, Hogan pointed to federal assistance provided to Los Angeles following the 1992 unrest over the beating of Rodney King. FEMA denied Hogan’s request.

McCollum expressed doubt about Minneapolis and St. Paul’s chances of getting federal disaster funding, a decision that is up to President Donald Trump. Alternatively, the state could seek funding through Congress’ annual appropriations, but that would require the Democratic-led House, Republican-led Senate and Trump to sign on.

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