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June 24, 2014 06:09 PM

Minnehaha County May Be Eligible For Federal Help

Minnehaha County

Governor Dennis Daugaard has already requested federal assistance for Lincoln, Jerauld and Union Counties.  Minnehaha County, which also has damage adding up, may be also end up on the list.  According to the Minnehaha County Commission Vice Chair John Pekas, the process of determining whether the County is eligible for FEMA funds is already in the process.  Pekas said only one county building was affected by the storms.  The hardest hit areas seem to be out on county roads in rural areas.

"We ran out of road closed signs," Dennis Horner, Splitrock Township Supervisor, said.

Horner and this crew have been out for about a week, blocking off roads that did not fare well during rising floodwater.  It is easy to notice the water washed away much of the gravel and left the roads pretty torn up.

"This is probably one of the worst areas we have," Horner said about a road near Brandon.

Area township leaders are working with Minnehaha County officials to assess damage so they can find out just how much it will cost to fix everything.

"For us to do a declaration for FEMA, we're going to have to meet the threshold of at least $600,000," Pekas said.

Pekas also points out the people who need these roads every day.

"Obviously, if we have roads that are washed out that means crops can't get to market," Pekas said.

There is a lot of damage like this so Pekas said it could be a while before we know the final price tag.

Once all of this data is collected, the emergency management director will present it to the county commission.  From there, it is up to members to make a motion, if eligible, to request a disaster declaration.  Horner believes this area will need federal dollars to repair all of this, so the roads in his township and others do not become permanent dead ends.

"Because this is going to be a pretty expensive, costly operation on this road and the other one we have that's out there.  It's not just going to be a few loads of gravel and blade over it," Horner said.

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