Dodge County estimates flood damage at about $320,000
MANTORVILLE — Dodge County sustained about $320,000 in damage from the storms of June 16 and subsequent flooding.
Emergency Management Director Matt Maas met with county commissioners on Tuesday and asked them to approve a resolution asking that Gov. Mark Dayton petition President Barack Obama to declare Dodge County a major disaster area. Such a declaration would make the county eligible for federal money to pay for emergency and permanent repairs, including debris removal, road repair, and other work.
The commissioners also discussed preparations for the Al-Corn tax lawsuit, now scheduled for trial Jan 5.
In April 2011, Al-Corn filed a civil lawsuit stating that the county had "unfairly and unequally" assessed the taxable value of its plant in Claremont.
County Assessor Ryan DeCook said that in anticipation of the trial, an appraisal needs to be completed for the Al-Corn plant. The commissioners unanimously approved using the appraisal firm of Patchin, Messner, Dodd & Brumm, of Burnsville, to do the work.
One aspect of the litigation is whether certain tanks on the plant’s site should be taxed as personal property or as real estate.
In a similar case tried recently in Waseca County, the court determined that the tanks in that case were taxable, explained DeCook. He said the court has not ruled on a value of the Waseca ethanol plant yet.
In other business
• Commissioners approved a social media policy for county employees. Employee Relations Director Lisa Hager and Director of Information Technology Tobey Hicks explained that several department heads have expressed interest in using social media tools like Twitter and Facebook to communicate with residents. For example, in an emergency, information might be posted on social media sites as well as through other types of mass communication.
• Commissioners also scheduled a public hearing for 10:30 a.m. July 8, to discuss a formal request to the Southeast Minnesota Multi County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (SEMMCHRA) to allow the county to leave the organization. The county has tried to exit the organization for years because there is no Section 8 housing in rural Dodge County, which SEMMCHRA administrates.
The commissioners will meet again at 9:30 a.m. July 8 at the courthouse.