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County qualifies for state disaster assistance

Carlton County is one of 10 central Minnesota counties that Gov. Mark Dayton designated as eligible for funds from the State Public Disaster Assistance Fund, because of damages from flooding and storms between July 9-11.

Carlton County is one of 10 central Minnesota counties that Gov. Mark Dayton designated as eligible for funds from the State Public Disaster Assistance Fund, because of damages from flooding and storms between July 9-11.

Carlton County Emergency Management Director Brian Belich said the State Public Disaster Assistance Fund is fairly new fund developed a couple years ago to aid local governments that experience disasters -- and need to repair public infrastructure as a result -- but don’t meet the higher threshold for federal aid.

Although initial damage estimates in Carlton County for public infrastructure damages came in at around $700,000, after representatives from Minnesota’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management sat down with township, city and other county officials and got more details of the various damages and repair estimates, the total came to $1.4 million.

The state fund will pay 75 percent of costs, Belich said, while the local jurisdiction pays 25 percent.

“It helps a lot, especially for the townships and even the county,” he said. “There’s nothing budget to help offset these [unexpected] costs.”

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Unfortunately, the fund is only for local governments and public infrastructure and not individual assistance. Belich said Volunteer Services of Carlton County has been working with property owners who need assistance or volunteer help in recovering from the flooding and severe storms in July. Anyone who needs assistance should contact VSCC at 218-879-9238.

“They do good work,” Belich said. “We thought we could handle this flood locally.”

Other counties designated for the state disaster assistance in the governor’s letter include Aitkin, Benton, Crow Wing, Kanabec, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine and Traverse counties.

Belich said Homeland Security staff will begin reviewing different projects in the county next.

“The goal is to restore the infrastructure to pre-flooding condition,” he said.

Related Topics: CARLTON COUNTY
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