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Debris Grant criteria expanded to include ag

Fri, Aug 29th, 2008
Posted in Government

Expansion of the criteria for eligibility for Debris Grant funds available after the 2007 flood was discussed at the August 26 meeting. There is nearly $300,000 left to be dispersed. Commissioner Marc Prestby noted that the deadline for the distribution of the funds is July 2009. Up to this point the FEMA funds for debris removal have been available to single family home owners and duplexes.

Emergency Management Director Deborah Teske reported that there are a total of 13 more homes to be removed in Rushford. The county has allowed up to $6,000 per home for the demolition and removal. Eleven of the property owners have not gotten demolition permits. Chairman Randy Dahl suggested that if owners do not have the structures removed, that the homes will probably need to be condemned. Teske questioned whether FEMA in the case of a condemnation could pay directly to the city of Rushford for the removal.

Commissioner Duane Bakke suggested that about $100,000 could be available for Ag land, removal of flood debris on crop land. Dahl said that property owners that have already used the $6,000 limit for debris removal have asked if there would be another round available for those that spent over $6,000 to remove flood debris. The limit was not changed at this time.

The board decided that a press release should be issued setting a deadline of December 1, 2008, for having applications submitted. The limit on Ag land would also be $6,000. Ag applicants are directed to contact the Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). This would be on a first come first serve basis. About $78,000 will be set aside for the completion of the removal of the thirteen remaining homes in Rushford.


County Coordinator Karen Brown reported that at this point the 2009 proposed levy has been reduced from about 16% to 10.71%. The highway department had made reductions. The reductions included sand and salt. Commissioners generally agreed that they did not want reductions in these areas. Commissioner Chuck Amunrud asked that a highway department budget item of $170,000 for new trucks be reduced to $0. He noted that the oldest truck had been replaced this year with insurance help after an accident.

Brown added that part of the reduction was due to added revenue in the Public Health Department coming from grants. Brown added that the current numbers are still very preliminary.

Courtroom Equipment

Judge Robert Benson addressed the board to clear up confusion about the computers in the court room and whether the state or county are responsible for them. Benson explained that the state does provide some of the equipment, but two of the computers would not be provided by the state. He said those two county owned computers, one used by the judge and the other by the court recorder are necessary to maintain the electronic courtroom.

Amunrud was concerned if this is something our county does that is unique, questioning whether we are spending money unnecessarily. Benson responded that he is 'tight' and would not spend either the state's or county's money if it wasn't absolutely necessary. He stated that he cannot use the software in the state computers that he uses to run the courtroom.

Chuck Amunrud asked if the two county computers used in the courtroom were working properly, since they were scheduled for replacement. Benson replied that he had no problem with the current computers and that they worked fine. Prestby commented that he appreciated his willingness to bump back their replacement another year.

Other Business

• Jeff Cooper, Information Systems, asked for and received approval to replace current network switches from Cisco, Inc. at the cost of $21,421.26. The purchase was recommended by the Technology Committee. The current switches will be kept for backup. Cooper equated the switches to a bridge on a highway, connecting the system.

• The city of Mabel will be allowed to use three of the county light towers for a tractor pull which will be held in an alternative unlighted area at the upcoming Steam Engine Day event, due to flood damage in the normal lighted location.

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