Nobles County waives tree removal costs for small cities
WORTHINGTON -- Nobles County's small cities aided in the wake of the April ice storm will not be charged by Nobles County for the tree debris removal services it provided.
Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder said county crews were asked to assist with clean-up efforts in eight communities across the county.
"I've been telling people that I don't have clear direction from the board on whether you intend to bill them (for the service)," Schnieder told commissioners during their Tuesday morning meeting. "If there's some sort of FEMA reimbursement, we would apply for that, and whatever wasn't approved, we would just eat."
"I don't want to see you billing the small communities," said Commissioner Marv Zylstra, asking Schnieder if he would contact the cities and let them know when county crews would be making a second pass through their towns.
Schnieder said he would let communities determine when they can get the last of their tree debris moved to the curb. County crews would probably spend up to half a day in each community to get the debris hauled out.
"There were six communities that didn't ask for help or did ask and we haven't been there yet," he told county commissioners, adding that crews will also get up to Fury's Island and Maka Oicu county parks to help clear debris from the campgrounds.
Schnieder said the work has not caused a lot of overtime for county highway department crews, but they will need to return to their regular schedule soon.
"(The small cities), their budgets don't have the money to reimburse, even with the FEMA contributions," Schnieder said. He hopes to have all of the second passes completed in each community prior to June 1.
In addition, Schnieder said there will be some additional work to remove hanging branches or branches in ditches along the county road system.
"We're taking the stuff that fell along the road and fell into the road ditch," Schnieder said. "Our intention is not that people clean out their groves and pile debris along the ditch."
Commissioner Don Linssen said he has heard positive comments from the public about the county's willingness to pitch in and help with the clean-up efforts.
Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.