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Nobles County approves disaster declaration

WORTHINGTON -- Nobles County commissioners on Tuesday approved a disaster declaration as a result of last weekend's high winds that toppled power lines and cut off power to the southwestern Nobles County community of Ellsworth for approximately 8...

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WORTHINGTON - Nobles County commissioners on Tuesday approved a disaster declaration as a result of last weekend’s high winds that toppled power lines and cut off power to the southwestern Nobles County community of Ellsworth for approximately 80 hours.

Emergency Management Director Joyce Jacobs said the disaster declaration will start the process for the state of Minnesota to conduct a preliminary damage assessment in the county.

“Ellsworth was impacted to the greatest extent in the county, but we also had some other departments that also have expenses that they incurred due to the emergency,” Jacobs said.

On Monday, Jacobs met with departments in Ellsworth to tally up the costs associated with the storm.

“Right now we have $48,000 accounted for,” she told commissioners. “When we request the state disaster fund, we need to have a threshold of $39,335 met for our county.”

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Jacobs said Nobles County Administrator Tom Johnson and Board Chairman Robert Demuth Jr. signed an immediate declaration on Friday, as did the Ellsworth City Council. Tuesday’s action by the board was to finalize the declaration.

Following the approval, Jacobs said she was pleased with the amount of resources made available to Ellsworth during their power outage.

“I do appreciate county departments coming together to make sure Ellsworth received the help they needed,” she said.

In other action, the board:

  • Approved the following payments for work completed: Ideal Landscape, $49,531.17 for work on the Government Center landscaping project; $24,107.41 to Gag Sheet Metal for work on the Prairie Justice Center roof; and payment of $77,443.24 to Salonek Concrete & Construction for the Adrian shop project.
  • Approved an additional $12,000 for the county’s contract with Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership for overseeing the 2017-2018 capital improvement projects funded through last year’s bonding. SWMHP was paid $70,000 through the contract, but pointed to several projects later added to their workload for which they weren’t compensated.
  • Accepted a $2,000 Hazardous Waste Materials Emergency Preparedness grant. The county’s emergency management office will use the funds to plan two hazardous materials incident trainings for firefighters in Nobles County. The grant requires a $500 match from Nobles County.
  • Supported Nobles County Pheasants Forever’s latest land acquisition, a 120.67-acre parcel previously owned by John Moberg in Section 23, Bigelow Township. In 2017, the land generated $2,470 in tax revenue. According to Pheasants Forever, the annual Payment in Lieu of Taxes made to the county will be $6,695.
  • Announced plans for an Arbor Day ceremony at 10 a.m. April 20 on the Nobles County Government Center lawn. The city of Worthington will also participate in the program.
  • Presented Child Support Officer Colleen Houselog with a gift for her 30 years of service to Nobles County.
Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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