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$5.5M tab projected for debris removal

Debris removal in Lawrence County will cost more than $5.5million.

Both the county and town of Monticello, in separate operationscontracted with Hemphill Construction Co. Inc. of Jackson fordebris removal. County operations will cost approximately $5million and the town contract was set at approximately $500,000,officials said.

Monticello aldermen chose not to allow the county to manage itsoperations, hoping that by contracting the job themselves theymight see quicker service. Silver Creek and New Hebron will beserviced under the county contract.

District Five Supervisor Archie Ross said he believes thecontractor will spread the crews over the entire county rather thanconcentrating on one area at a time.

Crews are expected to begin operations in the county soon, hesaid.

“They’ll probably get started this weekend or the first part ofthe week,” Ross said.

Residents of both the county and town are urged to separatetheir vegetative debris from household materials and place it onthe side of the road for removal. The crews can only take debrisleft on public rights-of-way and public property.

Even with crews removing the debris, it may take some timebefore appearances return to normal, Ross said. He said he expecteddebris removal to last well into October. The company is contractedto make three passes by each house in the county.

In Monticello, Mayor David Nichols said Hemphill Constructioncrews would begin removing debris Monday and were contracted tomake two passes by each house.

“They’ll make one pass, wait 48 hours and pass again,” hesaid.

Although the local governments must pay the contractor, debrisremoval operations conducted within a 90-day window beginning Aug.29, when Hurricane Katrina struck the state, are 100 percentreimbursable by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Both governments also will be reimbursed for any employeeovertime, fuel and equipment costs for hurricane-relatedoperations.

Town and county crews have been removing debris from theroadside since the hurricane struck, but the scope of the damage istoo much for them to handle alone. Also, officials said, theirequipment cannot move the larger debris.