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June 23, 2008

Governor Blagojevich signs law allowing Metro East counties to advance with future flood prevention projects
SB 836 allows Madison, Monroe and St. Clair Counties to be reimbursed when Flood Prevention Districts are in place

ALTON – In a push to provide immediate assistance to three Metro-East counties affected by recent flooding in Illinois, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that provides additional tools to Madison, Monroe and St. Clair Counties.  SB 836, sponsored by State Senator William Haine (D-Alton) and State Representative Dan Beiser (D-Alton), allows these three counties to pay for projects to be reimbursed when the newly authorized Flood Prevention Districts have been established.  These districts were authorized last month when the Governor signed SB 2052.  This move comes during a period of intense flooding throughout much of the Midwest.  The Governor has declared 24 counties in Illinois disaster areas, due to massive rain and levee breakings – including Madison, Monroe and St. Clair counties.
“We are seeing the effects of what happens when levees break; homes, businesses, farmland, and people’s livelihoods can be destroyed in just moments,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “I am committed to doing everything I can to help the people of this area fight for their towns and livelihoods, both now and in the future. That’s why this bill, which sets the stage for repair of these levees and further preparation, is so important.”
SB 836 allows for counties that spend money now to address the pressing needs of levee repair to be made whole by the Flood Prevention District at a later date. In addition, the bill also allows for monies currently in the Metro-East Sanitary District tort fund to be spent for levee repair and maintenance.
The individual county boards must vote to create the Flood Prevention Districts and authorize a retailers’ occupation tax and a service occupation tax of 0.25% to fund their operations and work. Food, medicine and certain medical supplies are exempted from these new tax rates.
“We can see the total devastation flooding can have. This bill will help the Metro East area around the Mississippi River get the funds they need in order to continue to prepare for flood prevention and recovery,” said Sen. Haine.
“In times such as these, we see how important flood preparation is. We are praying for the people of this area and are glad the Governor took such quick action,” said Rep. Beiser.
11 levees have broken so far in Illinois due to flood waters: five levees broke in east-central Illinois, and six levees have broken along the Mississippi River.
The bill is effective immediately.


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