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Carlton County Board declares state of emergency

The Carlton County Board of Commissioners declared a state of emergency to allow municipalities and utilities to recoup some of the costs of restoring power following last week's snowstorm.

Trees limbs and power lines sag beneath the weight of heavy, wet snow
Trees limbs and power lines sag beneath the weight of heavy, wet snow on Thursday, Dec. 15, on Gillogly Road in Twin Lakes Township. Downed trees and power lines caused widespread outages following the blizzard.
Amy Arntson / Cloquet Pine Journal
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CLOQUET — After a blizzard left many residents without power for days, the Carlton County Board of Commissioners declared a state of emergency Monday, Dec. 19.

Marlyn Halverson, the county's emergency management director, said the action would allow the county, municipalities and electric cooperatives to recoup some of the costs they incurred in working through the storm.

"By declaring the state of emergency for Carlton County ... we are going to start collecting information and documents to see if we have enough to recoup some of our costs," he said.

The threshold to receive funding is $74,224.35, which Halverson said has already been met.

"Most of it is for the utility companies — that is the biggest areas that were hit," he said. "Lake Country Power, East Central Energy and Moose Lake Power Company."

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For-profit companies, like Minnesota Power, are not eligible to recoup their costs under state statute, Halverson said.

The additional expenses for dealing with the emergency include bringing in crews from out of the region, dealing with fallen trees, and having to clear paths through the snow.

If the county's application for funding is approved, the state will reimburse 75% of costs.

Officials will start compiling preliminary data to determine a ballpark figure before submitting a request to the state.

As of the time of the meeting Monday, Halverson said all residents using Minnesota Power should be back up and running, with one Lake Country Power customer still waiting.

Commissioners asked if individuals could recoup any costs, but Halverson said the mechanism is just for public entities; individuals will have to deal with insurance companies instead.

"Individual assistance is very difficult to get with state declaration," he said.

The resolution adopted by the board applies to all public entities and municipalities in the county, meaning cities and townships do not have to adopt their own resolutions.

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According to unofficial snowfall totals from the National Weather Service in Duluth, Cloquet got 13.6 inches of snow during the two-day storm.

County officials last declared a state of emergency for a natural disaster during the 2018 floods, Halverson said.

MORE FROM DYLAN SHERMAN:
The second public hearing on the topic is scheduled for March 9, and is being held after residents provided comments and concerns during the first hearing on Jan. 26.

Related Topics: CARLTON COUNTYCARLTON COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERSGOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Dylan covers the local governments of Cloquet and Carlton County, as well as the Esko and Wrenshall school boards for the Cloquet Pine Journal.
What To Read Next
As reported by Carlton County District Court.
Read the latest news in the Carlton County, Dontcha Know newsletter published every Friday.
Gov. Tim Walz approved the relief funds Wednesday. Carlton County also received an undisclosed amount.
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