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Governor Mark Dayton Friday signed Chapter 7, House File 434, a bipartisan bill to provide $1.7 million in disaster aid to the city of Madelia and Watonwan County, after the community faced significant fire damage last year. The bill also provides $5 million to replace wetlands impacted by local road construction projects across Minnesota. The bill passed with strong bipartisan support in the Minnesota House (119-10) and Minnesota Senate (55-12).

“When I visited Madelia last February, I pledged to the community that we were not going to walk away and disappear,” said Governor Dayton. “Today, thanks to the strong bipartisan support of the Legislature, I am pleased to say we have followed through on our word. This bill will help Madelia rebuild into the strong, enduring community it has always been.”

Governor Dayton visited Madelia shortly after the downtown was hit by a significant fire in February of last year. In his visit, the Governor pledged that the state would partner with the community as they work to rebuild. Since that time, Governor Dayton has proposed significant investments to help Madelia rebuild, including disaster relief to the city of Madelia and Watonwan County in his proposed tax bill, sales tax relief for local businesses as they rebuild, and Jobs Bill investments to rebuild essential public infrastructure in Madelia.

“It is an honor to witness the Governor signing the bill to provide the emergency relief for the community of Madelia,” said Sen. Julie Rosen. “It has been over a year since their devastating fire that crippled a large part of their downtown. A heartfelt thank you to the Governor, my fellow legislative colleagues and all those that have helped Madelia through this disaster and once again be ‘Madelia Strong’!”

“When Governor Dayton came down to visit Madelia, he said he would do whatever he could to help us. We thank the Governor for his cooperation and commitment throughout this ordeal,” said Rep. Tony Cornish. “It's been a long road, and now the only step left is a sales tax exemption for construction materials. I want to thank Governor Dayton for taking the time for this signing today.”

“Today marks a milestone in Madelia's recovery,” said Ryan Visher, Madelia Firefighter and business owner. “The work of Representative Cornish and Senator Rosen along with Governor Dayton signing this bill, demonstrates the State's support in ensuring rural Minnesota remains vibrant even in the face of tragedy. Today's signing of the Madelia Bill goes a long way in lessening the burden and angst of rebuilding after our fire. I am grateful for the Governor and his actions today.”

The bill signed by the Governor today will provide $1.4 million to Madelia and $296,000 to Watonwan County to offset property taxes at rebuilt businesses in downtown and help with essential public infrastructure costs. The Governor remains committed to providing a sales tax exemption for construction materials used to rebuild and repair businesses affected by the fire.

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