In 2018 and 2019, Redwood County experienced significant flooding that did millions of dollars in damage.

The Redwood County Environmental Office has been working since then to try and fix the damage, but in order for it to do that it needs funding. Those dollars come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The county has submitted claims to FEMA, but, according to Scott Wold, Redwood County Environmental director of planning and environmental services, the county and FEMA are at an impasse.

Wold talked about that with the Redwood County Board of Commissioners at its Sept. 15 meeting. He indicated that the county experienced in the area of $2.5 million in damage during the 2018 flood, but what FEMA is offering is in the $172,000 range.

Wold told the commissioners he submitted a letter of appeal to the State of Minnesota regarding the 2018 scope of work, and he indicated if the state agrees with the county’s assessment it will then begin to advocate for the county.

While Brent Lang, Redwood County ditch and ag inspector, has done some of the smaller projects impacted by the 2018 flooding, the larger ones remain undone simply because the county can’t afford to do them. 

According to Lang, two of those projects, one for Sleepy Eye Creek and one for Ramsey Creek, could each cost in the $1 million range.

Wold added the environmental office is also in talks with FEMA for repairs related to the 2019 flooding, adding the estimates for that work could be in the $12 million range.

In other action during its Sept. 15 meeting, the county board:

• Approved a conditional use permit for Jason Behrendt to operate a farm livestock carcass transfer station on a farm at 310th Street and CSAH 6 approximately six miles north of the City of Wabasso.

During the process, a number of neighbors raised concerns about the permit, with Jeff Potter attending the meeting to speak against the project. Potter, whose home is in proximity to the site, raised concerns about the smell, adding an appraiser indicated that if the transfer station were approved homes adjacent could see a 10 percent decrease in their value.

Nick Brozek, Redwood County land use and zoning supervisor, told the board that work at the location had been done prior to the individual receiving the permit from the county, adding that a permit should have been sought first.

• Approved a conditional use permit for Michael Dolan to construct monuments at the intersection of Trunk Highway 19 and Dayton Avenue in Underwood Township approximately four miles southwest of the City of Vesta.

• Approved the 2021 proposed ditch levies.

• Approved a request from the Minnesota Department of Corrections to hire a probation officer with 29 percent of the cost of that salary reimbursed by the state and the county covering the other 71 percent. Under state statute, the state is required to pay 50 percent of the cost for these salaries, and the county board expressed its frustration regarding the fact that the state is not living up to its own rule.

Jake McLellan of the department of corrections explained to the board that the funding for its department comes from the state and the allocation is divided up to cover costs statewide. With limited funds, the department is not able to cover the commitment under the state statute.