Thursday, June 5, 2014

Storm Damaged Communities Meet in Louisville to Request Private Property Debris Removal Options

Louisville and Winston County joined with Itawamba, Lee and
Louisville's Mayor Hill opened the press conference
Lowndes Counties along with the Cities of Tupelo and Columbus in a meeting/press conference at Louisville City Hall on Wednesday (June 4) to make a formal request for authority and funding for debris removal on private property within those jurisdictions.

Mayor Will Hill opened the meeting saying, "We all have learned a great deal through this process and we are united in a club that we didn't ask to join." - referring to all communities present.

Hill indicated that review of provisions from previous disasters had allowed for FEMA funding and legal authority and indemnification through Section 403 of the Stafford Act for local governments to remove debris from private property.

Tupelo Mayor Shelton at Louisville meeting
Mayor Jason Shelton of Tupelo also indicated that his community was making a similar request. "The need is there- it is available and necessary for these communities."

Officials indicated that there are situations where a property owner may not qualify for assistance for debris removal through government programs or insurance coverage and that there will be some"unattended" properties  where owners may not be found or who refuse to clean up their property.

This would apply to properties determined to be a health hazard, public nuisance or out of economic necessity.

The jurisdictions represented at the meeting have issued or are in
Winston Co Supervisor Peterson 
the process of issuing a request to  MSEMA to work with FEMA to provide the means to enter these properties and complete the cleanup process. Approval could take up to 60-90 days.