County begins gathering assessments for disaster assistance

Published 6:11 pm Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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The Mower County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday morning took a pair of steps in the process of gaining disaster assistance for the county for two weather-impactful events.

The board voted unanimously to declare a peacetime emergency for the county in the wake of recent flooding that will allow cities and townships in the county to begin the process of estimating damages.

Estimates from some have only just started coming in so it’s going to be sometime before county officials know the full extent of damages.

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Once everything is in, Emergency Manager/Operations Manager Amy Bramwell will then be able to start determining what level of assistance may be available.

The Federal threshold the county must meet is $184,133.40, however, overall the state must first reach a threshold of $10.5 million to receive any disaster funding. This is because of the widespread effects of flooding across the state and that it would all be considered as one package.

At the state level, Mower County will have to hit a threshold of $92.066.70. There is no state threshold that’s similar to federal.

Damage assessments are for public infrastructure only, although Lammy didn’t rule out completely that some money might become available later.

Overall, Lammy told the board that everything considered, the county did fairly well amid the fallout of heavy rains that blanketed the area, largely crediting to flood mitigation efforts.

“We were very lucky, actually,” she said. “The water went where it was supposed to for the most part.”

Lammy said she hopes to receive assessments by July 5.

The board also gave the unanimous nod authorizing Chair John Mueller to sign a request for state assistant to Gov. Tim Walz in response to severe weather that damaged utility poles in the Rose Creek area in May.

The damage assessment came from the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Association (SMMPA). Damages from the storm came to more than $400,000, qualifying SMMPA to ask for emergency funds to repair damaged infrastructure as a result of the May 21 storms. The funds requested would pay for 75% of repairs with SMMPA having to supply the remaining 25%.