It’s time to take the trash out.
And if it’s debris related directly to Hurricane Michael, you better do it by Monday.
Following up on the decision by both cities to set Dec. 10 as the last day to put out storm debris, county commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday morning to set that date for the entire county.
Pam Brownell, emergency management director, urged residents to place debris, properly separated into vegetative materials, electronics, white goods such as appliances and construction debris.
“More people are trimming trees and cutting back sage palms, that is regular maintenance, that is ineligible debris,” she said. “If that’s picked up, the counties will be on the hook for that debris. People are starting to throw this out on top of eligible debris. That makes that whole pile ineligible, the contractors don’t have time to pick through debris.”
Commissioners Bert Boldt and Ricky Jones voiced support for making Dec. 10 the deadline, which was Brownell’s recommendation, arguing it would keep everything consistent with the municipalities.
Commissioner Smokey Parrish cautioned that the matter could become a continuous problem. “I see big tree stumps, all your culverts are about stopped up with garbage and trash It’s a mess overall.”
Parrish urged greater communication, through newspaper and radio. “I think there needs to be better notification,” he said, noting that the debris cleanup has been good so far.
“They did a decent job getting the stuff up in our neighborhood,” he said. “Bay View Drive and Brownsville Road was full of stuff, these two roads need to be done.”
Emergency management officials have stepped up their outreach through Alert Franklin and Facebook.
Don Madio, regional manager for Crowder Gulf, the debris removal contractor, said it was in the county’s best interest to set Monday as the last date to put out debris.
“We would be able to equally distribute the assets in the city and the county,” he said. “We want to make sure the county gets reimbursed from FEMA. The county could be de-obligated for hauling in ineligible debris.
“You started two weeks before anyone else in the Panhandle. FEMA is going to consider that,” Madio said.
“I don’t want nothing on our part holding nothing back,” said Chairman Noah Lockley. “We’re not trying to hold you all up, we want the county clean.”
Brownell cautioned that debris removal contractors cannot take debris from private yards and roads, but can remove it provided it is eligible and placed on public right-of-way.
Madio said the removal should be completed by Dec. 20.
Parrish also repeatedly urged county departments to make sure that they list and all damages and loss, and get it to Brownell so it can be submitted to FEMA.
“We got to do what we got to do, otherwise if falls back on the taxpayer,” he said. “Let’s follow protocols and procedures and make surer it happens.”