Gov. Pawlenty requests public assistance

Published 2:25 pm Saturday, October 2, 2010

Gov. Tim Pawlenty is requesting federal public assistance for Freeborn County and several other counties across southern Minnesota, due to flood damages that ravaged the region about a week ago.

Tim Pawlenty

Pawlenty made the request for a federal disaster declaration Friday in a letter to President Barack Obama. He says preliminary estimates peg flood damage at $64 million, including nearly $45 million to public infrastructure. He says more than 600 homes were damaged or destroyed.

Public assistance is requested for Freeborn, Blue Earth, Cottonwood, Dodge, Faribault, Goodhue, Jackson, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, Mower, Murray, Olmsted, Pipestone, Rice, Rock, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca, Watonwan and Winona counties. That aid would help remove debris and repair publicly owned facilities.

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He is asking for federal individual assistance for Blue Earth, Dodge, Faribault, Goodhue, Martin, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca and Watonwan counties, to help homeowners and renters with housing and expenses.

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials were in Freeborn County on Thursday, and preliminary estimates show that there was about $189,708 in damages to infrastructure countywide.

This total includes estimated damages in the public infrastructure of Freeborn County along with townships, cities and the county ditch authority. These are not estimates of private, individual home damages.

Damage estimates were included for the following townships: Bath, Carlston, Freeborn, Hartland, Manchester, Nunda and Hayward. The cities of Albert Lea, Alden, Hartland, Freeborn and Hollandale were also included in the preliminary damage assessment.

Damages assessed included estimates of debris removal, emergency protective measures (barricades, pumps, etc.), road systems and bridges (primarily gravel, replacing washed out roads, etc.), water control facilities (county ditch system), and buildings, contents and equipment (i.e. leaks at the Freeborn County courthouse).

Freeborn County Administrator John Kluever said the total preliminary damages estimated in Freeborn County were rolled into estimates from 35 counties included in Pawlenty’s emergency declaration made during last week’s storms. Kluever said a total of about $6.4 million in damages from all of these affected counties combined were needed to qualify to receive public federal disaster funding, based on a formula which takes individual populations and damages into account.

Kluever said based on this formula, Freeborn County needed to meet a threshold of damages totalling at least $105,246.

Pawlenty plans to call a special session this month to provide flood aid.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.