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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Stinkin' mess for Holmes Beach property owners

Holmes Beach won't be picking up the tab to remove any remaining debris caused by Hurricane Jeanne, Mayor Carol Whitmore said.

That was in a response to a request from Commissioner Don Maloney to have the city get rid of all the remaining debris from Jeanne at city expense. Maloney said the Federal Emergency Management Agency would reimburse the city 75 percent of the cost and other communities have lived with that expense. "Why can't we?" asked Maloney.

He said he'd had calls from several constituents complaining about the city's refusal to pick up the storm waste, and wanted to know what to tell the residents.

Wait a minute, responded Whitmore.

The city has already spent $58,000 with Waste Management Inc. for emergency pickup of hurricane-related debris. Following Hurricane Jeanne, city staff toured the city and didn't find enough debris to warrant another emergency contract, she said.

"That was brought up to commissioners at the last meeting in September and there was no opposition to not using WMI again on an emergency basis," Whitmore observed.

WMI will pick up yard waste under its normal contract with the city, but the waste must be bundled, less than four feet long, and each bundle can't be more than 40 pounds.

Maloney said there are a number of older people who can't break down the tree limbs and large debris items from Jeanne, bundle them up in units of 40 pounds or less, then get them moved to curbside on the regular yard-waste pickup day.

Not so fast FEMA
City Treasurer Rick Ashley said he's not yet submitted the $58,000 cleanup bill for Jeanne to FEMA, only $8,490 worth of bills for cleanup from Hurricane Charley.

The bad news, he said, is that FEMA officials informed him earlier this week that the city isn't likely to get anything back for another eight to 12 months.

In addition, FEMA has not yet decided whether to group claims from all four hurricanes or make each cleanup effort a separate claim.