February 12, 2009

County going for state snow removal funds

Mercer County may be eligible to get a piece of the pie available to rural counties and cities to aide in snow removal expenses.

Snow removal costs this winter have added up to big dollars and hit the county hard. The Jan. 23 emergency declaration for snow announced by Gov. John Hoeven made $1.5 million available to rural counties and small cities to offset the cost of snow removal and other snow-related emergencies that occurred in the month of January.

The monies will be disbursed by the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services where applications for funding will be reviewed. Criteria for receiving the aide include snowfall that is 400 percent in excess of the area’s normal snowfall in recent years and expenses that are more than 200 percent of a five-year average that pertain to snowfall removal. The state will reimburse 50 percent of eligible expenses over the 200 percent.

After checking the criteria and adding up the eligible snow removal expenses, Mercer County Emergency Manager Richard Sorenson last week informed county commissioners Lyle Latimer, Wayne Entze and Frank Bitterman of the situation.

Sorenson said county records have a five-year average of expenses for snow removal at about $17,000 a month.

The commission approved for Sorenson to handle the request to the state. With assistance from County Auditor Monte Erhardt and County Highway Supervisor Roy Braun, snow removal expenses for January were calculated. Eligible snow removal expenses are man hours, equipment use based on the county rental rates, equipment repairs and maintenance.

The Weather Network