Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

Reimbursement for flood expenses being received from FEMA, state


Reimbursement payments for expenses incurred for repairing damage from the torrential rains and the June flood are being received by local government units, the fire departments and the Moose Lake school.

Townships received funds in November from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the state for repairs to washouts from the heavy rains. Representatives of FEMA had visited the affected governmental units, fire departments and the school to assist in submitting requests for reimbursement aid.

“They were very professional and straightforward,” said Dan Reed, a supervisor for Automba Township.

“They were nice to work with,” said Bernadine Reed, the Barnum city clerk, in a telephone interview. “They guided us through the process.”

The city of Moose Lake submitted the final request for funds at the end of November.

City Administrator Mark Vahlsing explained that it took time to pull all of the information together for the final request.

However, both the cities of Barnum and Moose Lake received small amounts of funds for reimbursement of clean-up costs.

The city of Moose Lake received $2,600 so far, said Mayor Ted Shaw. He added that the city will receive a percentage for 56 out of 57 projects.

Bernadine Reed explained that the requests were submitted by categories.

“It goes by when the work was completed,” she said. “The work has to be done, and then we send in the invoices for reimbursement.”

The city of Barnum has also received funds for reimbursement for clean-up in the city after the flood.

Carlton County Engineer Wayne Olson reported that the county has received funding for the replacement of five bridges so far this year that had been damaged in the flood.

“Culverts are considered bridges,” he said. “There will be nine more bridges replaced next year. Three of them are span bridges.”

A number of bridges have been and will be replaced by box culverts. Olson said that projects will be ready to go early in the spring.

The State of Minnesota has stepped in to assist the counties with funding for bridge replacement.

“The state bonding was approved in the special session,” said Olson. “There was $27 million total, with $6.5 million designated for bridge replacement."

A bridge, replaced by a box culvert, in Skelton Township was scheduled for completion in early December. The funding came from FEMA and state bonding.

Another project in Deer Creek Township, south of Wrenshall on County Road 6, was to be completed the following week.

“We’ve gotten some reimbursement through ER funding too,” said Olson. “That’s a higher level of funding for state aid roads where we haven’t gotten funds from FEMA. There are quite a few dollars coming in. We have to figure it out and work through things with FEMA and see what they cover. The ER funds cover emergency work to get the roads passable again. We hope to get 100 percent coverage for the emergency work and 80 percent funding for the permanent work.”

Olson added that the Legislature was supposed to match what FEMA didn’t cover so the county would not have to match FEMA funding with taxpayer dollars. He said that the county is slated for complete reimbursement of all of its expenses related to flood damage.

“We won’t know the final numbers until it is done,” Olson concluded.

Heather Cunningham of the county’s Zoning and Environmental Services Department submitted a report to the Carlton County Board of Commissioners that explained the debris removal plan for the residents that had to get their flood debris out of their homes and to the curbside as quickly as possible after the flood to prevent the growth of mold. The county had contracted with private contractors to conduct countywide curbside removal of flood debris.

Residents were also able to haul their flood debris to designated drop-off sites.

Approximately 12,500 cubic yards of demolition/solid waste were removed and disposed of, not including appliances, electronics and household hazardous waste.

The costs for labor overtime, materials, contracts and administrative expenses totaled $540,196.15. The department has received $526,691.25 in reimbursement from the state and federal government. The remaining portion is expected to be reimbursed.

The Moose Lake Area Fire Protection District submitted requests for reimbursement of funds for costs associated with emergency efforts during the flood and the clean-up.

Tom Paull, the city’s flood manager and a firefighter, had submitted requests for funding, including a request for the crews and trucks at the DNR rate.

He reported to the fire protection district board at the October meeting that a letter had been received stating that FEMA was just going to fund actual costs but not for crews and the use of equipment.

Payment was expected in six to eight weeks.

Superintendent Robert Indihar reported at a school board meeting on December 3 that the Moose Lake School had been notified that it will be receiving reimbursement funds of $756,000 in 30 days.

The total bill for flood damages to the school was $850,000. Supt. Indihar explained that some things had not yet been purchased. The remaining funds will be coming when all is completed.


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