Fillmore County cities, townships and public entities that sustained around $17.8 million in damage during the June 23 flash flooding event will soon be able to start the application process for federal assistance.

Following the July 25 disaster declaration by President Barack Obama for the 18 counties which sustained storm and flooding damages from June 20 to 26, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) will begin working with counties to apply for assistance.

According to Fillmore County Emergency Management director Kevin Beck, "Townships are happy with how things are moving forward and the communication that they've had with FEMA."

At press time, specific dates and times for the meetings had not yet been set, but the process for obtaining federal funds had been determined.

The first step for each applicant will be to attend their respective applicant briefings. Attending this briefing is mandatory for those cities, townships and public entities that are seeking federal funding. Failure to be at the meeting could impact the ability to seek assistance.

The meetings are less personalized and attendees need not bring any supporting documentation for their damages. However, attendees will need to supply FEMA and HSEM with the names and mailing addresses of the entity's primary and alternate contacts. Representatives from those affected entities will be working with FEMA and receive all important documents relating to assistance application.

Other information from these contacts will need to be supplied, such as email addresses and phone numbers. The representatives attending the briefing will also need to bring their Dun and Bradstreet identification number or DUNS number. This number is vital in the application and assistance distribution process.

Following the application briefings, FEMA and HSEM will sit down in a one-on-one kickoff meeting with each applicant contact and draft a project worksheet. These worksheets will show which projects have been completed, which still need to be completed, and the amount of money it will cost the applicant.

Each applicant needs to be identified within 30 days of the presidential disaster declaration, which was made last Thursday, July 24.

Following these meetings, FEMA and HSEM will continue to be involved in approving projects, inspecting projects and handling reimbursement payments. Projects will fall under a small or large label.

Small projects will be those that fall below a threshold of $67,500. Federal share of assistance will not be less than 75 percent of the eligible cost and reimbursements would be made upon approval of the project and notification of completion of the project. Small projects already completed will also be reimbursed at 75 percent.

Large project cost reimbursement will be determined after total costs are gathered following the project completion. Interim payments may be made as necessary.

Once the payment is made by FEMA to the applicant, all sub-applicants will receive reimbursement from the applicant.

FEMA will set up a central office in St. Paul and have satellite offices with staff members throughout the state.