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Supervisors hear debris report, let bridge contract

Les Dungan of Dungan Engineering of Picayune, told Pearl River County supervisors on Wednesday that the cleanup was “well underway” and that six work crews are in the field picking up storm debris and hauling it to the central landfill at Millard. Dungan is the county’s monitor for the Hurricane Isaac cleanup.

Dungan told supervisors that Wednesday was the eighth day that crews have been at work removing debris, and crews are working in both north and south Pearl River County.

He told supervisors that it is estimated that crews are averaging 600 cubic yards of material removed each day, made up of one-half vegetative debris and one-half debris from damaged homes.

Hensley R. Lee, LLC, of Picayune was awarded a $774,190 contract to remove the debris. Lee was the low bidder. Four other companies bid on the project, and bids ranged from $8 million to Lee’s low bid. The bid was accepted on Sept. 10, signed on Sept. 12, and work got underway the same day the contract was signed by supervisors’ board president J. Patrick Lee.

Dungan told supervisors that at the rate the crews are moving, it is estimated that the pickup could be completed in three-to-four weeks. He warned that was only an estimate.

He said the contract calls for two passes on each public road in the county, divided by a weekend, so if crews have already picked up once along a road, they should pass by again, so residents who may have missed the first pickup should continue to pile up debris alongside of public roads.

Officials said only “eligible debris,” storm-related, can be removed and it must be stacked along a public road right-of-way. Crews cannot pickup debris from private roads and land.

County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin, Jr., said the county most likely will be eligible for FEMA funding for roads and bridges damaged in the hurricane. He said FEMA approved the county for C through G categories, which would include roads and bridges.

Dungan said some roads and bridges were damaged, and a survey was being conducted to get an estimated money figure on damages.

He said damages to roads and bridges could reach at least a half-million dollars and possibly more.

FEMA is paying 75 percent of the cost of the cleanup of debris, with state and local matching funds covering the remaining 25 percent of the cost.

Supervisor Lee said that as of Wednesday 2,068 residents have applied to FEMA for help. He said so far FEMA has spent $1.8 million in Pearl River County for storm-related costs. Of that figure, $1.6 million has been spent on housing assistance.

Five thousand people have applied for and gotten food stamp assistance, and 1,576 home inspections have been performed by FEMA personnel on residents whose homes were damaged by Isaac, according to information furnished to the board by county Emergency Management Director Danny Manley.

Along the Gulf Coast, Pearl River County has received the second highest amount of storm related funding from FEMA. Jackson County leads with $3.6 million and Harrison County is third with $1.3 million, said supervisor Lee.

County planner Ed Pinero, Jr., said homeowners who have home damage should apply for FEMA help, no matter what their situation is concerning insurance on their home. He also said that if a homeowner is rejected the first time, he should reapply, which is allowable. He said that some who have been rejected on the first try are accepted for aid on the second try, as conditions change.

In another matter, supervisors accepted a low bid of $141,118.80 from Pearl River Paving, LLC, of Carriere, to replace a bridge on McCarty Island Road. Two other companies bid on the project: Burge Construction of Carriere at $193,000 and Dozer, LLC, Natchez, $163,253.30.

Pearl River Paving is expected to begin the project in 30 days, and it should be completed in 60 days, depending on weather conditions.

McCarty Island Road is in the Pine Grove Community, west of Picayune.

The replacement is being funded by what is called LSBP state-aid bridge funding, said Dungan, who tabulated the bids along with Chris Nixon, state-aid district engineer, who attended the bid opening.

In other matters, the board:

— Approved the following travel: Justice court clerk to court clerk training in Harrison Co. on Oct. 16; veterans service officer to county service officer school, Flowood, on Oct. 10-12; county administrator to state auditor training in Biloxi on Oct. 4; two planning and development officials to flood plain managers of Miss. fall conference in Choctaw on Oct. 29-13; and tax assessor-collector to MACA fall conference in Meridian on Oct. 1-4.

— Adjourned to Monday, Oct. 1, at 9 a.m.