ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

County seeking disaster relief

The Crow Wing County Board Tuesday authorized the chairman to sign a disaster declaration following Sunday's storm, should one be warranted. Crow Wing County Emergency Management Director John Bowen told the county board he is working on a prelim...

Adam Larson uses a skid loader to add more wood to a burn pile of storm debris Tuesday at Kavanaugh’s Sylvan Lake Resort as they clean up after Sunday night’s storm. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery)
Adam Larson uses a skid loader to add more wood to a burn pile of storm debris Tuesday at Kavanaugh’s Sylvan Lake Resort as they clean up after Sunday night’s storm. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery)
We are part of The Trust Project.

The Crow Wing County Board Tuesday authorized the chairman to sign a disaster declaration following Sunday's storm, should one be warranted.

Crow Wing County Emergency Management Director John Bowen told the county board he is working on a preliminary damage assessment to determine whether the financial impact of the storm's damaging winds meets state or federal disaster relief thresholds.

Bowen said officials from the state requested the assessment. According to the Homeland Security and Emergency Management division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the state must sustain at least $7.4 million worth of damage to uninsured public infrastructure to meet the threshold for a presidential disaster declaration. In addition, affected counties within the state must each meet their individual disaster thresholds, a figure based on a county's population.

"Public infrastructure" in this case refers to roads, sidewalks, parks, utilities, government buildings and water control facilities, according to Julie Anderson, external affairs coordinator for HSEM. Counties can also seek funds to cover costs of debris removal and emergency protective services.

In an interview after the meeting, Bowen said utilities could potentially include power cooperatives such as Crow Wing Power. Beyond physical infrastructure, Bowen said costs associated with staff overtime, operations, equipment and other response costs will be included in his damage assessment. He said he expects to submit his assessment to the state today.

ADVERTISEMENT

For Crow Wing County, the federal threshold is set at $222,500 for this fiscal year. Counties are eligible for state assistance when damage estimates reach at least 50 percent of the federal requirement. Gov. Mark Dayton signed legislation in 2014 to establish a disaster assistance contingency account, the funds of which are set aside to assist communities when federal aid is unavailable.

Doug Neville, deputy director of communications with DPS, said by email Tuesday if the county moves forward with a disaster declaration, representatives from the agency will assess whether its costs meet state requirements.

"As it stands now, it is unlikely the damage will reach thresholds necessary to request federal assistance," Neville wrote.

Anderson reported Cass, Todd and Wadena counties are also conducting damage assessments as a result of Sunday's storm.

CHELSEY PERKINS may be reached at 218-855-5874 or chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchChelsey .

Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
What to read next
The 12 plaintiffs suffered injuries including bruising from less-lethal munitions, lingering respiratory issues from tear gas and psychological trauma, the ACLU said.
The 29th annual Radiothon to End Child Abuse starts at noon Thursday, Dec. 1. WJJY, B93.3, The Power Loon and COOL 103.5 will join with area child protection teams and Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota to raise funds for, and awareness about, child abuse prevention and neglect.
Lynn and Jason Kotrba have a personal connection with Huntington's Disease and wanted to help with the potentially life-saving Huntington's Disease research.