Lyon County gets OK for early state aid payments

MARSHALL – Lyon County and Lyon County cities will be among the local governments able to ask for early state aid in response to flood damage, the Minnesota Department of Revenue said Tuesday. The announcement comes about two months after heavy rain and flooding caused thousands of dollars’ worth of damage in the city of Cottonwood, as well as damage like a culvert washout on Lyon County Road 11.

A release from the Department of Revenue said Lyon, Watonwan and Wright counties would join a list of 32 counties eligible for aid payments. Minnesota law allows those counties, and the cities and townships within them, to receive Local Government Aid or County Program Aid payments early to counteract the financial effects of disaster cleanup. The payments are normally made twice a year, in July and December.

Cottonwood Clerk/Administrator Kathy Dahl said that while the city received some significant flood damage, the disaster likely wouldn’t have a major negative impact on the city’s cash flow. However, she said, the Cottonwood City Council will consider whether to request early LGA payments at its Sept. 2 meeting.

The city of Marshall will most likely not pursue early state aid payment, Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes said. He said cities that had heavy flooding could experience financial issues because of the rain and thus would be more apt to look to early state aid payments. Marshall, however, doesn’t fit into that category.

“Fortunately, the city of Marshall was not impacted as severely as other communities were by the heavy rainfall in June,” he said, “so it’s my opinion we probably would not take advantage of the advance on LGA that is intended to help out communities that have cash flow issues because of the cost of dealing with the impact of the storms.”

Lyon County Administrator Loren Stomberg said the county will probably request an early LGA payment.

“It certainly doesn’t hurt,” Stomberg said. However, he said the early payment also wouldn’t make a major difference to the cash flow of county departments. Some of the county’s losses for flood damage would be reimbursed by FEMA, he said.