Board considers FEMA and libraryRoad-repair funding requested, FEMA individual assistance denied and library asks for funds.
By: LaReesa Sandretsky, Lake County News Chronicle
During Tuesday's Lake County Board meeting, Nathan Eide, the land commissioner for the county, asked the board to approve bids for road repairs due to flood damage. There are 15 projects that the forestry department had opened for bids, including the North Alger Grade, one of the worst-damaged roads in the county. The flooding swept out a large culvert and most of the road. The repairs there will cost almost $16,000.
FEMA and state funds will cover 90 percent of the projects and the county is responsible for the remaining 10 percent.
FEMA individual assistance
FEMA funds cannot be applied to individual projects, only public ones. The agency denied a request for individual aid in late July. Governor Mark Dayton has appealed the denial. In his letter, Dayton stated that over 1,500 homes were damaged in the flood and 93 percent of them carried no flood insurance.
He said the damage hit low-income and elderly populations especially hard and that the approaching winter and trauma experienced by those affected are more reasons for concern. The state has experienced five President-declared disasters in the last two years.
“The requirements for individual assistance for this disaster are simply beyond our capability,” Dayton wrote.
Lake County has formed a long term recovery committee to assess remaining flood victim needs. Lake County residents with unmet needs should complete a survey on the Lake County website at www.co.lake.mn.us. Residents can also call the Emergency Management office at (218) 226-4444 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some state aid may still become available from a special state legislature session on Aug. 20. Volunteer groups are also receiving donations for flood relief from individuals, businesses and foundations, BJ Kohlstedt, director of Emergency Management in Lake County, said.
Library asks for renovation funding
The Lake County Board of Commissioners heard from Michelle Monson, director of the Two Harbors Public Library, about the deteriorating state of the building. Although budgets won’t be decided until this winter, she came early to plead the case for library renovations and put the topic on commissioners’ radar, she said.
The top priority is carpeting, Monson said. The current carpeting is 40 years old and significantly worn in high-traffic areas. She said they’ve gotten a few rough estimates and requested $15,000 “to get the ball rolling.”
It’s not just carpeting. The library was assessed this summer by a library planning professional and he’ll make recommendations to the library board in the fall about how to best reorganize and renovate the building.
Monson said they want to create a specific space for teens and make the upstairs work area more convenient for users on laptops.