FEMA sets up field station

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials set up a field station at the Freeborn County Highway Department shop today to begin processing claims from the strong storms of June.

FEMA will reimburse 75 percent of approved damages, while the remaining 25 percent will be the responsibility of state or local governments, said Freeborn County Emergency Management Director Rich Hall. The officials will be in Freeborn County between three and five weeks.

Hall estimated damages to public infrastructure in the county alone will exceed $500,000, though total damages have not been calculated. The largest costs will come from drainage and ditch repairs, though there were also costs for emergency response.

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If the Minnesota Legislature goes through with the special session that is planned for Sept. 9, Hall said, they will determine what portion the state will cover — generally between 15 and 25 percent.

The action comes after President Barack Obama last month declared 18 Minnesota counties — including Freeborn and Faribault — as major disaster areas following storms from June 20-26. The declaration covered damages to public infrastructure but did not include individual assistance.

Damages across the state are estimated to cost $17.8 million.

House District 27A Rep. Shannon Savick said she is pleased the Minnesota Legislature is planning to meet in a special session to approve the federal disaster funding.

“Along with several other areas across Minnesota, our communities were hit pretty hard by these storms,” said Savick, DFL-Wells. “As a state we have always come together to help make the repairs that are needed after disasters like this.”

She said she hopes the session runs smoothly with bipartisan support.

The legislators will consider potential tax relief to Minnesota farmers, who have experienced hardship because of last year’s drought, a long winter and wet conditions that limited crop planting.

Savick urged people to contact her with questions by email at rep.shannon.savick@house.mn or by phone at 507-553-3549.