Cass County Board: Storm costs top $500,000
BACKUS -- Cass County Emergency Services Director Kerry Swenson reported to the county board Tuesday the county's storm damage losses being certified to the state for partial reimbursement have topped a half a million dollars.
BACKUS - Cass County Emergency Services Director Kerry Swenson reported to the county board Tuesday the county's storm damage losses being certified to the state for partial reimbursement have topped a half a million dollars.
He predicted there still could be more, because two more townships may qualify and further losses are being found as recreational trail clean-up still continues.
Local government losses to date from county, township and Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe clean-up and road repair work from the storms between July 9 and 21 are $437,250. Local governments suffered another $210,338 in damages from the Aug. 4 storm.
Each township had to have at least $2,500 in damages to qualify for state disaster money, Swenson said. Utility companies and private property owners cannot claim state disaster aid, he added.
Commissioner Bob Kangas, who also sits on the Crow Wing Power board of directors, said that power cooperative sustained $800,000 in damage to its electric infrastructure from this summer's storms.
Once all claims have been filed, the state will determine how much will be paid back to the local governments from its disaster aid fund.
Sheriff Tom Burch obtained board approval to use $16,567.27 from a fund the county was paid by the federal government from its timber sales and recreational fees. He will use this to pay half the $33,134.74 his department incurred to search over eight days for a boater who drowned in Leech Lake recently.
The costs covered wages for sheriff's deputies, Leech Lake Tribal police officers and Leech Lake conservation officers who assisted in the search, plus a small amount for food for those who searched.
Burch and Leech Lake Tribal Police Chief Ken Washington each commented on the importance of working together in emergencies like this.
Washington said he appreciated the professionalism of the sheriff's officers and the concern they showed for the victim's family.
The county board received notice from Local 320 of the Minnesota Teamsters Public Law Enforcement Employees Union that Minnesota Peace Officer Standards and Training Board licensed peace officers and non-licensed essential personnel in the Cass County Sheriff's Department have voted to divide into two separate bargaining units.
Cass County's current union contracts run out at the end of this year. Negotiations are in process with all bargaining units.