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County lifts hold on storm cleanup

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Board of Supervisors lifted Tuesday the work hold order it had placed on a storm debris cleanup contractor late last week.

The hold was placed last week when the contractor — Blain Companies — and the Federal Emergency Management Agency began calculating the amount of debris Blain was removing differently. The debris was generated by Tropical Storm Isaac.

Road Manager Robbie Dollar said, based on current volumes of work, the effort will cost the county $891 a day.

For a month of work, that daily cost will add up to approximately $26,000 Board President Darryl Grennell said.

“That’s just what it costs to clean the county,” he said.

FEMA only counts 80 percent of a load on a fully-loaded truck for storm debris because it is not solid matter, County Administrator Joe Murray said.

FEMA and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency will reimburse the county most of its costs for storm cleanup. In theory, the county would only have to pay 12.5 percent of its costs, but because the contractor’s cubic yardage count is higher than FEMAs, it will likely be more.

The contractor is billing the county based on the size of the truckload, 34 cubic yards, at a rate of $24.50 per cubic yard. The supervisors met with Michael Blain of the Blain Companies Tuesday. Blain told the supervisors it’s impossible to load the truck to absolute, 100 percent capacity.

“You can use all the technology the U.S. government has behind its forces, it can’t be done,” he said. “You fill up a known volume, and that is how you measure something.”

The waste disposal site Blain is using charges tippage fees to the company based on the truckload, Blain said.

Supervisor Mike Lazarus said the FEMA monitor is willing to work with Blain and the county to tell them when the truck can be considered to be 90 percent loaded.

The supervisors decided to tell Blain to work until Oct. 19, at which point the issue would be revisited.

The county has never contracted out cleanup work from a storm before, and Joe Murray said the next time such a contract is written it will specify that bids will have to be based on FEMA specifications.

In other news, the supervisors voted to hire TDF Tree Services to remove a tree downed by Tropical Storm Isaac that fell on the edge of a cliff on River Terminal Road and is threatening to roll into a nearby house.

The supervisors said they would not contract with the company for the tree removal, however, until the City of Natchez and the landowner had agreed to split the $3,200 cost three ways.

The property is within the Natchez city limits.

Board attorney Scott Slover said the supervisors could have the tree removed because it fell during a storm event for which a declared state of emergency existed.