President Donald Trump's approval of Butte County as part of a major disaster declaration means that Butte County Auditor Elaine Jensen has a batch of paperwork to complete.
What may make it unusual is that the declaration results from the Christmas 2016 storms that hit much of South Dakota, but it's not a blizzard disaster.
"This is not considered a snow event," Jensen said. "There wasn't enough snow."
But, she said, damages and repairs to lines for rural electric cooperatives that serve the county, Butte Electric and Grand Electric, do count.
So, she said, do the costs of search and rescue operations such as the one north of Newell Dec. 26 that required snow plow operation to save the life of a man who barely survived in a snowbank on the prairie.
Following the declaration, she said, "We are now ready to proceed with turning in the exact numbers, the county's costs and rural electric cooperatives, for reimbursement.
Jensen said she had not been given a deadline.
"I'm sure they will be getting in contact with me very quickly," she said last Friday after learning the state's request for a presidential disaster declaration had been approved.
Normally her paperwork in a disaster declaration goes to the state and is forwarded to federal officials.
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South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard had requested a major disaster declaration for 24 counties and two tribal governments in South Dakota.
The affected counties include Butte, Clark, Codington, Day, Deuel, Dewey, Edmunds, Fall River, Faulk, Grant, Haakon, Hamlin, Harding, Jackson, Jones, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Pennington, Perkins, Roberts, Stanley, Sully, and Ziebach.
The disaster declaration also covers the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in Dewey and Ziebach Counties and the Oglala Sioux Tribe in Jackson County.
U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) issued statements after President Trump approved the disaster request.
"The federal disaster assistance will help communities recover from strong winter thunderstorms and a subsequent blizzard that resulted in flooding, significant snow and ice accumulations, and high-velocity straight-line winds across the state. Three people lost their lives as a result of the winter storm," said the three in a joint statement.
“I want to thank President Trump for taking quick action so these communities across South Dakota can continue the hard work of rebuilding their cities and towns,” said Thune. “Now that this declaration has been approved, I hope folks can have greater peace of mind knowing that more help is on the way.”
“A number of South Dakota communities suffered significant losses during recent thunderstorms and blizzards,” said Rounds. “President Trump’s disaster declaration will help these communities which suffered losses to be eligible for federal assistance as they work to rebuild.”
“South Dakotans are resilient, but disasters like this can threaten a family’s financial security,” said Noem. “President Trump’s swift actions will help make sure South Dakota communities get the help they need to rebuild from a devastating winter storm.”