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Nobles County submits damage assessment of $16.8 million

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WORTHINGTON -- Nobles County Administrator Tom Johnson announced Friday that Nobles County Emergency Management Director Joyce Jacobs has submitted the Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) numbers as requested to the Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) following heavy snow, freezing rain and ice last week.

Nobles County numbers totaled $16,806,746. Jacobs cautioned that the $16.8 million is a preliminary number that could be significantly lower or higher based on the actual costs that are yet to be determined. Several of the townships were still without power when the assessments were made, so their numbers were based on what they were hearing from other townships.

"These numbers basically mean we can continue in the application process," Jacobs said in a press release. "There is no guarantee that we will be declared, so agencies still need to remember that they are ultimately responsible for any costs they incur."

Various agencies across the county -- including power companies, cities, townships and school districts -- were asked to submit their PDA numbers to Jacobs for submission to HSEM. Nobles County's numbers will be rolled together with PDA numbers from Rock, Jackson, Cottonwood and Murray counties that were also impacted by the ice storm. The Emergency Management Director from each respective county was also asked to submit their PDA numbers for agencies within their counties.

If granted by FEMA, the Public Assistance Program would provide:

l Assistance to state and local government and certain private not for profit organizations for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities. This applies within the counties in the disaster area.

l Assistance to state and local government and certain private not for profit organizations for actions taken to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards. All counties in the state of Minnesota are eligible to apply for assistance under this program.

HSEM disaster recovery experts have met with local representatives in the areas affected by the winter storm and determined there was a need for a formal assessment to determine if the costs to clean up and recover from this storm meet the threshold required to receive consideration for federal funding.

The preliminary damage assessment is the first step in determining if Governor Mark Dayton will make a request for a presidential declaration.