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County Board approves application procedure for demolition and debris removal

Fri, Oct 5th, 2007
Posted in Government

Fillmore County flood victims that need to have their condemned primary residence demolished and removed can apply for grant money from the state. The board approved the application form and criteria and the process at their October 2 meeting.

Fillmore County will administer the distribution of $500,000 grant money made available by the state. Commissioner Randy Dahl noted that the goal of the funds is to help assure that the debris is disposed of properly and that it doesn't end up dumped in ravines and ditches. The other six counties effected by the August flood will also receive grant money from the state.

Dahl added that affected home owners need to get a permit for demolition. They will receive guidelines on how to qualify for the funds available at that time. Applications and criteria are to be posted on the county website and also will be sent to each city and township that has FEMA applicants. Applicants will have to supply copies of FEMA, Small Business Administration (SBA), and insurance letters. Teske suggested that the required documents help assure that attempts at using federal or FEMA dollars and/or insurance have been exhausted. A copy of a paid invoice for the demolition and removal and a copy of a paid invoice from the disposal site are required. Dahl said that help is available if needed to complete the SBA application. Teske added that SBA acts like a bank for FEMA. Applicants are not required to accept an SBA loan. The grant money is to help pay for removal costs not covered by insurance or FEMA. Teske said that FEMA only covers removal of debris on the right of way. As of October 1, the city of Rushford is no longer picking up individual debris. Dahl commented that not all homes have removed interior debris, but most have.

County Auditor/Treasurer Shirl Boelter expects that reimbursement money can be paid to the home owner within a couple of weeks of the receipt of the paid invoices and after receiving approval from the Application Review Committee. Each approved applicant will receive up to $6,000. If the cost is more than that, the application will be held back. If the county has funds left over after the application period, an additional pro-rated check will be sent to those applicants to help cover their additional costs.

County Attorney Brett Corson asked if rental properties were included. Boelter said that the grant money is for individuals in their primary residence. Dahl questioned whether people who rent out a room or use their residence for a dual purpose like a hair salon would qualify. It appeared that they would. Dahl objected to language that would exclude people. Teske noted that the law does not allow for businesses to be reimbursed under this grant.

Dahl and County Coordinator Karen Brown gave an update on progress in Rushford. Brown said that thirty- eight businesses have reopened in some way, some in temporary facilities and some elsewhere. Dahl stressed that the Rushford situation is unique as the whole business district was affected. Efforts are underway to work out a more favorable grant deal with the state for the city's businesses. Dahl added that the city of Rushford is also dealing with the recently discovered problem of as many as 200 private wells within the city that are connected to pipes without check valves between them and the city water lines. Brown added that forty of the private wells were previously registered with the city.

Half Time Veterans Position

A new half time permanent staff position has been established to help in the Emergency Management/Veterans Department. Deborah Teske noted that the veterans side of the department is experiencing a huge increase in work dealing with returning veterans from the current conflicts. The board approved the new position titled Assistant Veterans Service Officer which will work under Teske. The applicant must be a veteran.

Social Services

Social Service Director Thomas Boyd requested and received approval for the department's biennial plan for 2008-2009 and the 2008-2009 Adult Mental Health Grant Application. Boyd explained that the plan was posted for the public with no response. The Mental Health Grant offers federal dollars for the seriously and persistently mentally ill.

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