Flood relief will soon be coming to Pine County residents from damage inflicted on their homes in July 2012.
Tuesday, the Pine County Board of Commissioners approved a payment of $2.25 million to help those people who had homes damaged by the flooding.
The commissioners signed on to the grant agreement with the State of Minnesota and Commissioner of Natural Resources to pay for the acquisition of property and disposal of structures impacted in Pine County due to the federal disasters.
The money will be used to purchase seven properties through the DNR flood mitigation property and 25 percent of the costs associated with 37 other properties affected by the flooding.
“We are finally getting some action,” said Commissioner Stephen Hallan of Pine City. “It is a terrible thing that we are approaching one year from today.”
Hallan said the county learned greatly from the flood, the process has changed in the county, and he hoped that this chapter in local residents’ lives would soon be closed.
The seven properties being purchased are on Cathedral Pine Drive, Farm to Market Road, Willow Street, County Highway 61, and Debbie Ridge Road in northern Pine County. Payments for 25 percent of property loss will be going to residents on Bald Eagle Lane, Farm to Market Road, Willow Street, Cathedral Pines Drive, Central Avenue, County Highway 61, and Kettle Shores Loop. Around 40 percent of the properties are on Cathedral Pines Drive in Sturgeon Lake.
The owners of these 44 properties are those who filled out applications for help from the state and federal governments. For those who will get help from the state, the other 75 percent will be paid by the federal government later.
One resident who lives in the Cathedral Pines area said the last 10 months have been very challenging, both mentally and physically. She also asked the county if there is a plan in place in case flooding does hit the region again this year.
Also at the meeting, Tom Paull was terminated as temporary flood recovery coordinator and Matt Fulton was named the new point person. The county board was told this would be Fulton’s only position so they could devote all their time to helping flood victims. County Administrator Dave Minke said this change should help speed up the process of helping flood victims.
Next Monday, Pine County Assessor Kelly Schroeder said she would be meeting with state officials on final paperwork that will need to be filled out before checks are ready for area residents.
Hallan said the county will first reimburse the property owners, and then the state will reimburse the county for these expenses. County Auditor Cathy Clemmer said federal funds usually come within 30 days after the request is made.
“The hope is for things to click right along,” Schroeder told the board.
Tuckpointing, pressure washing and caulking will soon be done at the Pine Government Center, formerly the Pine County Courthouse.
The board approved hiring Karr Construction to do the work that will not exceed $100,000. The work is intended to stop water damage and preserve the building, which now houses the county Health and Human Services, and Pine City government, along with some related nonprofit organizations.
In 2011, Karr was the only firm that submitted a bid from three firms selected. This bid was rejected by the board.
In 2012, the board officially went out for a formal bid and the lowest bid was $266,000. These bids were also rejected by the board.
The county recently asked Karr Construction if they would honor their 2011 bid, and they are agreeable. Before work can start, a professional services agreement will be reviewed by County Attorney John Carlson.