County issues emergency declaration due to heavy snowfall

An emergency declaration was put in place at the last Hettinger County commissioner’s meeting due to the increase in snowfall this winter season.

Snow plows have been a common site around the state this winter season. With the amount of snowfall this year there have been plows out on the roads almost daily. (File Photo)

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor
cbenz@countrymedia.net

An emergency declaration was put in place at the last Hettinger County commissioner’s meeting due to the increase in snowfall this winter season.

The declaration, approved and signed by the commissioners on Jan. 4, allows the county and the cities to access emergency funds due to the increase in costs related to snow removal. Not only does the declaration allow the entities to access their emergency funds, it is also required for the county to receive any state funds if they are made available by the legislation. Though Hardmeyer isn’t sure if the legislation will make that happen.

“I don’t know that yet,” Hardmeyer said when asked if money might be available.

It’s been an uncharacteristic winter season that has seen record snowfall across the entire state of North Dakota. It has shown with the effort required by county and city employees.

Hettinger County Road Superintendent Lee Maier said he has had up to six plows out everyday clearing the roadways. Maier—a county employee for the past 20 years and superintendent for the past five—also noted that with every snowfall the job difficulty increases, because the banks get deeper and have to move more just to keep them clear.

With the increase in snow removal comes increase in cost, which is why Hardmeyer submitted the declaration. But as of now, Hettinger County Auditor Jeri Schmidt said they have been keeping within the parameters of the budget.

“So far, we’ve been ok,” she said.

Right now, the cost of the snow removal comes out of the county’s road and bridges fund, and Schmidt said that they will look at the budget as an ongoing process.

“Definitely we will look at what is the cost,” Schmidt said. “And then distribute them appropriately, from like the emergency fund, if need be.”

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