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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Michael Nelson (DFL)

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Resources for Victims of the September 21st Storm

Wednesday, October 5, 2005
The storm that hit the north metro on September 21 left many home and business owners with damaged property and significant clean-up bills. While much of the clean-up has been completed, for some, the repairs may take weeks or even months. We've compiled some information we thought residents might find helpful in dealing with insurance claims or figuring out property tax adjustments. The sight of neighbors helping neighbors remove debris and repair storm damage showed the strength of our community spirit in response to the storm. Thanks to all the local and state officials whose quick reaction the storm helped speed up recovery. Sincerely, Representative Michael Nelson District 46A, Brooklyn Park Representative Debra Hilstrom District 46B, Brooklyn Center Representative Melissa Hortman District 47B, Brooklyn Park Filing Insurance Claims The Commissioner of Commerce has created a document to advise consumers on how to file a claim for damage sustained in the September 21 storm. The document provides details about what to do before filing a claim, how to file a claim, and who to contact if there are questions or problems with the claims process. Specifically, it advises policyholders not to make permanent repairs until they receive a final settlement, to take pictures of the damaged areas, and to work closely with the company adjuster when removing debris and during the rebuilding process. The document can be found by going to the Commerce website ( and clicking on "Storm Damage – Insurance Information." The Minnesota Department of Commerce Consumer Response Team (CRT) can help consumers with questions or problems with filing claims associated with storm damage, questions about insurance laws, and disputes with an insurance company, agent or adjuster. The phone number for the CRT is (651) 296-2488 or 800-657-3602. Replacing Lost Trees The Minnesota ReLeaf Program assists communities with planting and caring for trees for the purposes of conserving energy, benefiting wildlife and establishing community windbreaks. Local governments, non-profit organizations and schools may be eligible to receive a ReLeaf grant to help property-owners with the cost of replacing trees destroyed in the September 21 storm. (Individual property owners are not eligible for grants.) It is estimated that somewhere between $10,000 and $50,000 may be available to help with the cost of replacing trees destroyed in the storm. (The web page for the ReLeaf program is at: The phone number is (651) 772-7927 Removing Debris Anoka County and a number of cities in Hennepin County are disposing of trees and branches that were destroyed during the September 21 storm. Many local governments have posted instructions that homeowners must follow for having trees and other debris removed from their property. Below are some of the web sites with instructions for tree removal: Anoka County: (click on "Anoka Co. Storm Info" or call 763-862-4200) Brooklyn Park: (click on "Storm Recovery Update" or call 763-424-8000) Brooklyn Center: (click on "Storm Damage Information" or call 763-569-3300) Champlin: (click on "Storm Damage – September 2005" or call 763-421-2820) Replacing Damaged Property State law provides a property tax adjustment for property damaged in a storm that results in a federal, state or local disaster or emergency declaration. Under the provision, the valuation of homestead property would be adjusted for taxes payable in the following year to reflect the loss in market value caused by the storm damage. In response to the September 21 storm, on September 28, Governor Pawlenty issued an Emergency Executive Order Providing for Emergency Storm and Tornado Relief. The emergency order may qualify as an emergency or disaster declaration for the purpose of making property in affected areas eligible for a property tax adjustment. In order for properties in an area subject to an emergency or disaster declaration to be eligible for a property tax adjustment, the local unit of government must submit an application for the property tax relief to the Governor for approval by the Executive Council. Local jurisdictions would receive reimbursement from the state to recover the cost of the tax adjustment. Below is a Department of Revenue web link for the property tax adjustment (which is referred to as a Disaster Credit).