Towns tackle storm debris removal

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 9, 2003

Hertford County’s two largest towns face an even larger problem – removing the mountains of debris left in the wake of Hurricane Isabel.

In order to expedite the clean-up process in the most efficient manner, officials in both towns have begun the process of accepting bids from private contractors to handle the job.

&uot;We have been working with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) personnel from where we’re filling out the necessary paperwork in order to move forward with our debris removal project,&uot; said Molly Eubank, Murfreesboro Town Administrator. &uot;We are working very hard to do everything in accordance with the rules set forth by FEMA. We want to make very sure that we are in compliance with those rules.&uot;

The bidding timetable in Murfreesboro calls for a pre-bid conference at 10 a.m. tomorrow. All bids must be submitted no later than 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 13. Those bids are scheduled to be open 30 minutes later.

&uot;Hopefully, we will have time to review the bids between 2 p.m. on Monday and 1 p.m. on Tuesday (Oct. 14, the date of the next Murfreesboro Town Council meeting) so we can make a recommendation for approval,&uot; noted Eubank.

She said that once the Town Council awards the bid, the contractor, after signing the work order, has 72 hours to begin the clean-up project.

&uot;I know it’s difficult waiting and everyone wants debris removed quickly, but plans are underway to take care of everything,&uot; stressed Eubank. &uot;We just ask for the continued patience of residents as the process continues to unfold.&uot;

Ahoskie’s Town Council met on Monday, voting to begin the process of soliciting bids from private contractors to handle the debris removal. Russell Overman, Ahoskie Town Manager, said the town would pay for that service, but the money will be reimbursed to the Ahoskie by FEMA.

&uot;We didn’t wait too long after the storm to begin our own process of debris removal,&uot; stated Overman. &uot;Now that we have the go-ahead from FEMA that they’ll pick-up the tab on the debris removal, we’ll stop as of Friday and begin the transition of town pick-up to one handled by a private contractor.&uot;

Overman confirmed that the bids will be opened at 2 p.m. next Wednesday. As in Murfreesboro’s case, the contractor in Ahoskie has 72 hours to begin work after the contract is signed.

&uot;We’re looking for the debris removal project to begin perhaps as early as next Friday (Oct. 17), but no later than Oct. 20,&uot; stated Overman.

Both Eubank and Overman stressed to the residents in their respective towns to place the debris adjacent to the curb, but not in the gutter or street. Debris in the gutter or street will lead to storm drainage problems as well as cause a hazard to motorists.

(R-C News-Herald News Editor Cal Bryant contributed to this story).