Lawmaker seeks $1 million in state aid to deal with flood-damaged 'zombie homes' in Minot

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MINOT, North Dakota — A state legislator said he plans to seek $1 million in state funding to help his home city of Minot deal with neglected and abandoned homes damaged by Souris River flooding in 2011.

Republican Rep. Scott Louser told the Minot Daily News (http://bit.ly/1yQEwUW ) that he has drafted a bill for next year's legislative session that would provide upfront money for the city to deal with the so-called "zombie homes." The costs would ultimately be assessed to the property owners, and recouped money would go to the Minot Park District.

"It's not a grant to a property owner. It's something they are going to have to pay back," he said.

The river swamped more than 4,000 Minot homes, businesses and other structures that June. Hundreds of what are considered nuisance or dangerous properties remain throughout the city.

The City Council earlier this year dedicated $74,000 in sales tax money to the cleanup effort and directed city staff to look for other funding sources.

"I just don't want a situation where we get to the Legislature and at the last minute, put a bill together," Louser said. "The best chance for success is to have something that's vetted and well thought out."

Discussion already is generating additional ideas, such as including funding for a temporary city staffer to manage cleanup of the properties, he said.


Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com

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