Jim Sandgren, Redwood County emergency management director, sat in front of the county board April 16 making an all-too-familiar request.
“Here we are again,” said Sandgren.
Sandgren and Randy Hanson, Redwood County sheriff, spoke with the board about a request they were making to declare a state of emergency in Redwood County based on the damage from this spring’s flooding.
Damage from the March and early April flooding has been significant, said Sandgren, adding early estimates he has received from the county’s townships and cities, coupled with the damage from the county itself, has surpassed the $300,000 mark.
With a threshold of just over $60,000 to qualify for assistance, Sandgren approached the board to make the declaration in order to start the process with the state and federal governments to receive funding to help cover the costs to repair the damage from the flood.
Sandgren said the $300,000 estimate is an early assessment.
“That number will increase,” he said, adding with the recent heavy snow there is a strong possibility that additional flooding will occur resulting in even more damage.
One of the struggles the board raised with Sandgren is the fact that the process to receive funding from the government is a long one. Many of the commissioners commented they have heard some local leaders say they are not sure the funding is really worth all of the paperwork they have to do.
Sandgren added at this point he is not sure if anyone in the county has been reimbursed yet for the repairs that were done following the July 2018 flooding event.
Sandgren said he has sent the initial estimates for Redwood County into the state, and the county has been included in the state declaration made by Gov. Tim Walz. Once that list has been completed, the state could then make its case to the president for a federal declaration.
Following the most recent snow storm, Sandgren said the Redwood Electric Cooperative could also be added to the disaster declaration based on the damage to power lines. As a cooperative, it would qualify for assistance.
The board unanimously approved the declaration, and now the real work of securing the funding to make the repairs will begin.
In other action during its April 16 meeting, the county board:
• Accepted a Minnesota federal boating safety supplemental equipment grant for the Redwood County Sheriff’s Department in the amount of $3,009. Sheriff Hanson said that funding will be used to purchase sonar equipment for the department’s boat it uses for river searches.
• Approved a conditional use permit for Joe Schueller for gravel extraction in Section 24 of Granite Rock Township.
• Approved a conditional use permit for Scott and Sonia Mattison for a 900 animal unit cattle feedlot in Section 33 of Waterbury Township.
• Approved a conditional use permit for a Verizon telecommunications tower in Three Lakes Township.
• Awarded the construction of Redwood County Road 99/Noble Avenue to R&G Con-struction at a cost of $1.1 million. The county received a $700,000 allocation from the state for this project, as it is being paved in conjunction with the proposed veterans cemetery project.
• Awarded a bid in the amount of $23,675 for signage at the new Redwood County Highway Department shop in Redwood Falls.