By Joe Steck – Mankato Times 

ST PAUL, MINN. – A bill that would bring long overdue aid to the City of Madelia following a devastating fire has been sent to Governor Dayton for his signature. The proposal was approved Monday in the Minnesota House. 

“We wanted to arrange it so money would arrive earlier in the year instead of waiting for a taxes bill to be signed into law, which is why Senator Rosen amended this proposal onto a wetlands bill,” State Representative Tony Cornish (R-Vernon Center) said.  

Under the provision, the City of Madelia will receive $1.4 million and nearly $300,000 will be sent to Watonwan County in grants that can be used for disaster recovery, infrastructure, and reimbursement for equipment and personnel costs and property tax abatements. 

Nearly all the businesses destroyed by the fire have since rebuilt or relocated to new permanent locations. As Madelia continues its rebuilding process, Cornish said it’s important to let residents know that the State of Minnesota is following through on its financial commitments to the community.

“The businessmen and women of Madelia took such a risk and invested such a large amount of money into this project,” Cornish said. “This will be a way to allow their investment to come back sooner than expected.”  

Before the bill becomes law, it requires a signature from Gov. Mark Dayton. Last year, aid for Madelia was included in the 2016 tax and bonding proposals, but Dayton refused to sign the bill because of language errors, and Madelia businesses were forced to begin construction without government assistance.

If the governor signs the bill into law, Cornish said the only piece that remains is a sales tax exemption for construction materials, which he expects to be included in taxes legislation later this session.  

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