Flood issues continue to dominate board agendaThough it’s been over a month since record flooding saturated the county, issues related to flood damage and cleanup continue to pour into county offices.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Though it’s been over a month since record flooding saturated the county, issues related to flood damage and cleanup continue to pour into county offices.
At Monday’s meeting of the Carlton County Board, commissioners heard a financial assistance request from Thomson Township resident Marcie Stolberg, who operates Knife Island Campground on the St. Louis River. Stolberg said flood debris from upriver has piled up along the shoreline adjoining the campground, including kayaks, building materials, boats, metal fragments and even parts of the Minnesota Power dam. She said she has already paid for two dumpsters at her own expense to dispose of the debris, but some of it is inaccessible and some will require heavy equipment to remove. She said not only does the county’s free flood debris removal policy not apply to businesses, but reminded commissioners that the debris is not from her business but from other entities upstream. She requested that the county consider some type of financial reimbursement to assist with cleanup of the debris.
While the board was sympathetic with Stolberg’s dilemma, they were at first reluctant to set a precedent for county reimbursements, especially without first knowing if assistance will come in from the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA). County Auditor/Treasurer Paul Gassert suggested that the debris could feasibly present a public safety and sanitation issue if left untouched. Commissioner Tom Proulx suggested that Planning and Zoning Director Heather Cunningham survey the debris and investigate possible means of cleanup. The board concurred.
Further, the board approved an amendment to the current Flood Debris Disposal Policy to extend it to July 30 (and, if needed, July 31). Under the policy, drivers will accept only flood-related, non-commercial debris from demolition and solid waste. Household hazardous waste, electronics an d appliances need to be self-hauled to either the Shamrock Landfill, 761 Highway 45, Cloquet, or the Carlton County Transfer Station, 1950 Highway 210, Carlton. If it is sorted, it will be accepted free of charge.
To get a curbside pickup, Cunningham explained, residents must call the Debris Removal Coordinator at 218-380-0355 on July 26 or 27 to get on the list of locations to be picked up. Flood debris should be placed curbside on July 29 but not before. There are no curbside pickups scheduled in the meantime.
The city of Thomson requested reimbursement for a series of roll offs the city made available to residents to assist in flood debris cleanup which have been dumped six times for a total of $900. The board okayed the reimbursement, stating that similar requests can probably be anticipated from the communities of Moose Lake, Barnum, Carlton and Thomson Township.
An invoice was presented on behalf of a property owner on County Road 4 who had the end of his driveway washed out during the flooding and hired the repairs done himself since his wife had to get out for a doctor’s appointment. The board agreed to reimburse the property owner the $300 expense since the portion of the driveway in need of repairs was in the public right of way.
Commissioners unanimously approved a request from County Assessor Marcie Moreland to pass a resolution asking the county be eligible for state reimbursement for any property tax credits or abatements resulting from flood damage to properties. She said that amount is expected to amount to some $300,000-$400,000 annually.