Flooding costs in Brown County being tallied

NEW ULM – Brown County commissioners learned more details Tuesday about the mounting costs of the June 19 deluge and week-long rains that dumped more than 10 inches of rain in and around the county.

“I’ve never seen so much rip rap moved by water. We’ve fixed some things a number of times, spending about $50,000 cleaning out roads and ditches, cleaning debris and hauling gravel,” Brown County Highway Engineer Wayne Stevens said.

“We’re keeping track of everything in case FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) comes in. We would be reimbursed for overtime,” Stevens said. “This is the most mud and trees I’ve seen on County Road 10 since I’ve been here (12 years).”

Brown County highways closed include CSAH 8 south of the Franklin Bridge, CSAH 10 east and west of TH 4, CSAH 13 in the Camelsback area and the Beussman Bridge Road.

The Brown County website (www.co.brown.mn.us), features a number of flood information links including clean-up assistance for all county residents, flood and wind damage cleanup and repair grants for veterans, and flood cleanup tips.

In other action, commissioners unanimously approved:

A 85.23-acre land acquisition to the Vogel Wildlife Management Area in Section 3, Stately Township, for inclusion into the state’s Wildlife Management Area (WMA) system.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources proposed a $4,417.50 annual Payment In Lieu of Taxes for five years, based on 3/4 of one percent of the property’s appraised value. After five years, the county could re-determine what the annual payment would be.

Withdrawing from the State Department of Human Services (DHS) Chemical Dependency pilot project.

In the fall of 2013, Brown County was invited to join a chemical dependency pilot project to begin Jan. 1, 2014, but was later delayed to July 1.

From the start, there was skepticism by Court Service, Brown County Judge, Family Services Director Tom Henderson and his staff whether the project was right for Brown County.

Henderson explained that his department made “valiant” attempts to help DHS understand that rural Minnesota has very few vendors/providers and that counties need to fill that void.

“There are many other counties with no vendors and if this becomes statewide after the three pilots are done in two years, people would have long distances to travel to the only vendor near them. …We have one provider, but they are not the choice of all people seeking treatment and they don’t have some services that certain clientele need for treatment.”

Increasing an Assessor’s Office part-time technician’s hours from 1,560 to 1,730 in 2015, increasing salary by $2,833, subject to final budget approval. The two assessment technicians’ workload keeps increasing with each additional program approved by the Legislature, making it hard to keep up with applications and correspondence.

Adding a part-time sheriff’s secretary at 20 hours/week, starting as soon as possible. Estimated pay for the job is at the Grade VIII rate, $13,724 entry to $16,090 midpoint.

A $21,425 final payment to MR Paving & Excavating for curb and gutter, sidewalk and concrete aprons in the Brown County Highway Department’s New Ulm shop yard. The board earlier approved installing a storm sewer system, replacing broken concrete aprons and rerouting a shop floor drain to the sanitary sewer as part of the yard rehabilitation project.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at fbusch@nujournal.com).

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