Heidi Cunningham, upon recommendation of current administrator, Bruce Benson, was appointed the new Carlton County Zoning and Waste Management Administrator by a unanimous vote of the full Carlton County board at the Transportation Building on July 10. She has been appointed from within with no outside job postings. Dennis Genereau, County Coordinator, remarked, "Cunningham is forward thinking, experienced, and I see no problem with her working from home one day a week."
County burial policies for indigents was presented for board action. The accepted guidelines that have been used over the fiscal years are now listed in writing. The county buries about 12 deceased a year with a $25,000 budget. Highlights of the policy are: no payment for headstones or funeral expenses, such as food and flowers; no payment for cremated remains; non-county residents who die in this county's jurisdiction will have their burial costs billed to their home county; and if it exists, prior to burial, the keys and car will be turned over to county authorities for burial cost recovery.
The county board continued to wrestle with ramifications of the flood. Upon recommendation of Genereau, Drew Digby, currently working for DEED, will be hired for 8-10 hours a week for eight weeks to act as an assistant coordinator facilitating a response to flooding damage and creating a long-term recovery plan. "This is to identify sources for homeowners and businesses to recover damages," Genereau explained, "and to prepare for what the Feds and the state will do before drawing on limited local funding. Ninety-nine percent of local homeowners are not covered by flood insurance."
Genereau continued, "Tornadoes recently ravaged the Wadena area and the officials from there will be meeting with as many local government units as possible to explain what to expect in help and what sources are available. This is very generous of them. This meeting is being set up directly." Flood losses continue to mount. Preliminary Carlton County totals range between $105.3 million to $135.3 million dollars and is growing.
The county board approved the "Flood Damage Debris Disposal Refund Policy" as:
1. The debris must be from residential, non-commercial property.
2. Reimbursement for properly permitted facilities.
3. Self haulers will be reimbursed for tipping fees. Those that hired a roll off will be reimbursed for tipping fee, roll off and transportation.
4. A receipt or invoice must be provided with completed application form.
5. Refunds will not be provided for complete structure demolition.
6. Reimbursements will only be awarded for waste hauled between June 20 and June 26.
The $10 fee for replacement property deeds has been waived for those that were lost due to flooding. It was reported that a Twin Cities firm was scamming local homeowners to replace deeds lost in the flood at a high fee. Locals should be on the lookout.
County Engineer Wayne Olson was given board approval to use private contracting to expeditiously repair infrastructure repairs throughout the county. Work can be contracted out without a bid if below the $100,000 limit. This will accelerate flood repair damage mitigation.