Truman returns flood funds

TRUMAN – It has been almost three years since the city of Truman was flooded in a late night rainstorm that put the area in a state of emergency.

Homes were flooded, some with water that completely filled their basements up to the first floor.

In the aftermath of the fall 2010 storm, the town was offered nearly $200,000 from the Small Cities Development Program to help homeowners with the cleanup.

Monday, Truman city council approved closing the program and returning $176,000.

Judd Schultz, with Minnesota Valley Action Council, said the grant gesture was nice, but the help came at the wrong time.

“The money wasn’t spent because it was nine months too late and the process was egregious,” he told city council members.

To qualify for the grant, residents first had to put a claim through their insurance company, then through the U.S. Small Business Administration. If denied by both groups, the resident then needed to bring proof of those denials to apply for the Small Cities grant.

In addition, many people who tried to apply for the grant online after the disaster center closed did not finish the application because it was too cumbersome.

“We needed furnaces and water heaters within two weeks of the floods,” Schultz said. “It was nice of them to offer funds, but it was, in the end, impossible.”

Schultz tried to drum up interest in the fix-up loans over the years, and people did look into it. But many did not meet the income qualifications, and those who did qualify financially had trouble getting the correct paperwork.

In the end, only one grant was approved for the area.

Schultz said the money will go back to the general pool to be used for grants in the future, and Truman will not be penalized because the money was not used, if a need comes up again.