The Legislature's Republican Party leaders have agreed that $3 million should be appropriated to help victims of the Jan. 1 Quail Creek dike burst.
The measure, SB207, sponsored by Sen. Dixie L. Leavitt, R-Cedar City, passed the Senate 25-2 on Friday and is now in the House of Representatives.After meeting in caucus, leaders agreed that the bill should be $3 million, the same amount that passed the Senate. The money will be used by the state's Disaster Relief Board, which will then lend it to the Washington County Water Conservancy District to pay off claims arising from the dike burst.
The district must repay the money, without interest, within 12 years. The district expects to use money that will be available when it pays off a construction bond and will also raise the mill levy. In addition, it hopes to collect damages in court actions.
Leavitt's original bill would have established a revolving relief fund. But under the new agreement, the money will be repaid instead to the Utah Division of Water Resources.
Another difference is that the earlier version envisioned a $5 million appropriation to start paying off the damages. But that has been scaled down to $3 million.
When the dike collapsed, it sent a wall of water roaring from the reservoir nine miles from St. George, causing about $12 million in damages. Much of that was to public facilities, and federal grants will cover a large amount of the damage.
But private residences, farmland and livestock aren't covered by the federal grant.