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County to seek disaster funds

WORTHINGTON -- Nobles County Commissioners approved a State of Emergency and Presidential Declaration of a Major Disaster during a special board meeting on Tuesday.

The approvals set in motion a request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for financial assistance to repair damages from heavy rains and flooding in Nobles County since June 7.

Just one week ago, Nobles County Emergency Management director Dan Anderson appeared before commissioners with a request for assistance to reach all township and small city leaders before Friday to get damage estimates from flooding.

Anderson told commissioners a week ago the county needed to meet a threshold of $64,787.52 (or $3.11 per capita) to qualify for financial assistance. As of Monday, with all but one township reporting, damage estimates of $275,709.54 were received by the emergency management office.

Of the total estimate, nearly $152,000 in damage is estimated for roads and bridges, with $65,000 in damage to water control facilities such as dams and levies. Debris clearance is estimated at $53,262, with the remainder including damage estimates to buildings and equipment, utilities and recreation/other.

"When you think about $275,000 in damage to roads and cities, that doesn't even include the crops," said board chair Diane Thier.

With the county's state of emergency and disaster declarations on Tuesday, Anderson said the county will now wait for Homeland Security-Emergency Management to submit information to FEMA regarding flooding damage in a four-county area of southeast Minnesota.

"We'll wait for the presidential declaration to be declared for southeast Minnesota, and then we'll sneak under the coattails," Anderson said. "I don't think we're the only county, either (to seek funding through the declaration)."

If the county's request for assistance is approved, he said FEMA officials will likely visit the county after July 4 to do their own survey and estimate of damages.

"FEMA could come in and say no," Anderson cautioned.

Commissioners commended Anderson for his quick work in compiling and submitting the information and said they appreciated the quick response from townships and cities within the county.

"I just think we have to commend our township officials and city officials for stepping up to the plate to get this information in," added Commissioner Marv Zylstra. "There was a quick turnaround."

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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