Anoka County is seeking state financial aid for damage dealt by a powerful June hailstorm that pummeled the north metro and left at least one city clearing away heaps of ice with a snowplow.
The County Board unanimously adopted a resolution Tuesday declaring a state of emergency, a step required to apply for state aid to repair damage done to public property and infrastructure.
Early estimates from the June 11 storm place uninsured loss about $650,000, with much of the cost incurred at the state-owned National Sports Center campus in Blaine, according to Terry Stoltzman, the county's emergency management director.
Each county has a different threshold to qualify for the state's disaster assistance funds. Anoka County's threshold is just over $595,000.
"We're looking at uninsured loss," Stoltzman said at the July 11 meeting. "This is only for government property."
The aid does not apply to damage to private property or individual homes, he said.
After officials complete a preliminary damage assessment, the governor decides whether to declare a state disaster, which makes aid available to reimburse counties for part of the cleanup and repair costs.
If a county gets the green light for assistance, all of the government jurisdictions in its boundaries may apply for aid. The money can help pay for emergency response costs, debris removal, and damage to parks, buildings, equipment and utilities, among other costs.
Gov. Mark Dayton signed legislation to create the state's Disaster Assistance Contingency Account in 2014. It's meant to help local communities after a natural disaster, even when federal aid is not available. Since 2014, he has declared 15 state disasters, with more than $20 million reimbursed to local governments in that time, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
Anoka County officials say they're still cleaning up after last month's storm, which left behind so much ice in parts of Coon Rapids that staff pulled out a snowplow to clear intersections, where it had collected in piles up to 2 feet high.
"We started plowing it up like snow," said Greg Cronin, the city's streets department supervisor.
"I've never seen it in my 42 years here."
In Coon Rapids, expenses related to the storm total over $130,000. Further damage estimates are still being determined.
Nearby in Blaine, the storm damaged buildings at the National Sports Center, especially the roof.
While officials are still collecting repair estimates, damage could top $1 million, according to Neil Ladd, the center's associate executive director.
The hail also battered home exteriors, broke windows and dented cars.
"These were hard as a rock. These weren't the fluffy stuff like Coon Rapids got," said Blaine Mayor Tom Ryan. "There was still ice on the ground that night."