Initial flood damage estimates top $200,000 in Cook County
Chuck Olsen

Initial flood damage estimates top $200,000 in Cook County

County damage assessments have begun to roll in as flooding conditions dissipate from northeastern Minnesota.

This past week, Cook County Emergency Management Director Mike Keyport compiled road and culvert repair estimates following the June 18 flooding. Then, on June 25, he presented the estimated cost of the storm damage and an update on response activities to the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

Given the road washouts, damaged culverts, and the cost for county employees to cut down trees, Keyport estimates the damage to be over $200,000.

A significant portion of the estimate is due to the Sugarloaf Rd in Schroeder.

Keyport said the quote he received to repair the washout damage on Sugarloaf Rd was $191,000. In addition, Keyport said, there is reported damage to some snowmobile trails, and because the trails are grant-funded through the county, they are included within the county’s storm damage costs.

“As of right now, I do not have a repair estimate for that,” Keyport said.

During the June 25 meeting, Cook County Highway Engineer Robbie Hass shared a cost estimate of $26,000 to repair washouts along roads, replace culverts, and the time designated for his crew to clear trees on county roads. Hass said the estimate may increase to $30,000 as more information is compiled. “That’s where we’re at as far as the county is concerned,” he said.

As of June 25, the total storm damage cost is approximately $217,000 to $221,000 without the repair quotes from the damaged snowmobile trails.

Keyport said the county has a designated threshold for storm damage of $25,000. “So obviously, we’re over that.”

He said, given that the cost estimate is over $25,000, he is requesting to declare a local state of emergency. Then, the county can apply for a state declaration and receive disaster assistance funding through the disaster assistance contingency account. The state would cover 75 percent of the cost, and the county would be responsible for the remaining 25 percent.

However, Keyport said that, given that numerous other counties across the state have experienced significant flooding damage, Governor Tim Walz could make a presidential declaration if statewide costs are higher than $10.5 million. If a presidential declaration is enacted, Keyport said, it would allow Cook County to tap into Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding, and 100 percent of the storm damage costs would be covered.

Governor Walz is scheduled to meet with FEMA Administrator Tom Sivak on June 28 at 10:30 a.m. to discuss the state’s current flood outlook and ongoing emergency response.

As flooding conditions continue in Cook, Mankato, and other regions, final storm damage cost estimates may take weeks.

Below is audio of Cook County Emergency Management Director Mike Keyport discussing the storm damage and the next steps during the June 25 Cook County Board of Commissioners meeting.