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New disaster declarations include Hubbard County

Hubbard County is among new areas declared as disaster areas and is now eligible for federal public assistance.

County engineer Dave Olsonawski, along with representatives from Becker, Clearwater and surrounding counties, will be meeting with FEMA officials today in Detroit Lakes to discuss remunerations for spring flooding damages.

The updated list included 11 other counties in Minnesota that were declared eligible. That brings the total number of counties to 27 according to officials from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Newly designated include Beltrami, Chippewa, Clearwater, Douglas, Hubbard, Lac Qui Parle, Lake of the Woods, Pope, Swift, Stevens, and Yellow Medicine counties.

The April 9, 2009 major disaster declaration covers disaster-related infrastructure costs caused by severe storms and flooding that began March 16 and continues. It provides federal reimbursement to state, local and tribal governments and certain private nonprofit organizations.

Under the Public Assistance cost-share program, FEMA funds 75 percent of the approved cost. Eligible work includes debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster and repairing or replacing of damaged public facilities such as roads, bridges, buildings, utilities and recreation areas. The state manages the grants for all projects.

The main goal of FEMA's PA program is to restore eligible facilities to their pre-disaster levels. Funds are available that allow certain projects to be rebuilt to a higher standard if it can be demonstrated the increased costs will save taxpayers money in the future.

Olsonawski said preliminary estimates of Hubbard County's damages range from $120,000 to $150,000 but could go higher if culverts on flooded roadways need to be replaced.

State officials will hold a series of applicant briefings for representatives of state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations. The briefings will explain the PA application process. Dates, times and locations for these briefings will be announced.

Previously designated counties eligible for PA assistance are Clay, Grant, Kittson, Lake, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Otter Tail, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, Roseau, Traverse, Wadena and Wilkin.