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Freeborn County commissioners declare state of emergency

Published 11:12am Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Freeborn County commissioners on Monday approved two procedural resolutions needed to apply for federal aid after storms.

The commissioners declared the county to be in a state of emergency and requested a presidential declaration of a major disaster from President Barack Obama.

The action comes after Albert Lea last week received more than 7 inches of rain in only a few short days. The rain lead to high water levels in both Fountain and Albert Lea lakes and the closure of several streets in town, including Main Street and Lakeview Boulevard. Some farmland was also under water.

Damage estimates in Freeborn County as of Tuesday morning had passed $600,000, said Freeborn County Administrator John Kluever. That number is likely still to rise.

Kluever said more than $400,000 of the damage already tabulated is from the city of Albert Lea and the county’s highway and drainage systems. The federal government often assists local levels with the cost of recovering from disasters.

The county must have $108,000 in damages to be included in a potential disaster declaration, and the state must reach a threshold of $7.3 million before Gov. Mark Dayton can request a presidential disaster declaration.

Dayton last week declared Freeborn County as one of 35 counties in a state of emergency.

Faribault, Mower, Steele and Waseca counties were also included.