FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — While Otter Tail County doesn't yet know the cost of damage inflicted by tornadoes that hit the area earlier this month, officials say they do not expect to qualify for state disaster assistance.
The county must have its damage estimate completed and sent to the state of Minnesota no later than Aug. 7, and damage reports are still coming in, according to county spokesperson Shannon Terry. The county must report at least $110,000 of damage to public infrastructure to qualify for a state disaster declaration.
The most significant expense to the county so far has been debris cleanup, Terry said. Any resources spent on cleaning up the area, including worker time and gas for vehicles, can be included in the estimate.
"The county spent time on clearing debris and cleaning up so that payroll goes into that tally," she said. "We will have no way to be reimbursed for that unless we meet the threshold, so the county will pay for the time to do that ... Any debris cleanup we did — overtime, gas, whatever was used for the county, we have to pay."
The tornadoes that touched down in Otter Tail County on July 8 had peak wind speeds of 170 mph and created a 9-mile path of damage and debris. One of the confirmed twisters killed 30-year-old Battle Lake man Seth Nelson and damaged multiple private properties.