EAST GULL LAKE - Kerry Swenson, Cass County emergency services director, reported to the county board Tuesday Cass local government costs from the July 12 straight-line windstorm has now reached $1.6 million.
The county, cities of Lake Shore and East Gull Lake and towns of Fairview, Sylvan and May are receiving 75 percent reimbursements from the state disaster fund. Most of those reimbursements should be received by mid-October, he said.
The 25 percent costs the county, towns and cities have had to absorb still have been steep.
Marla Yoho, Fairview clerk-treasurer, reported that township incurred $700,000 in township road repair and tree clean-up costs. The township's annual budget is only about $300,000.
This does not include any expenses utilities or private landowners had.
The town has had to use some of its reserve fund to pay clean-up expenses, then submit requests to the state emergency fund for reimbursement. Once the state reimburses the town, then the town can pay more of its bills and re-submit for more reimbursement, Swenson said.
In the end, the town still will have to pay the remaining 25 percent from its own funds or about $175,000. That was not planned in their 2015 budget.
Yoho said Fairview fought a long fight to get and install two severe weather warning sirens. Having those saved lives, she said. The town had no personal injuries in the storm.
Rob Mason, East Gull Lake administrator, said the biggest help was having sites to dump downed tree debris.
Tuesday, the county board passed a resolution to thank Knife River Construction of Sauk Rapids and Anderson Brothers Construction of Brainerd for making available their construction sites for tree debris collection and shredding.
Commissioner Jeff Peterson thanked Swenson for putting together such an effective emergency plan with the cities and towns before the storm hit, so response could go well.
Commissioner Neal Gaalswyk said none of the government agencies involved in the response put up obstacles to an efficient response.
Yoho also said having had contact with emergency responders during emergency planning help a lot when the township needed to call for help following the storm.
Swenson reported two road rights of way still need to be cleared, but otherwise most of the public road cleanup is complete.
Private property owners still can bring their tree debris to the shredding sites through October.
Swenson said each local government kept very good records of their expenses, which helped the state process their requests promptly.