Thompson: Storm debris not county’s problem

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Submitted: Wed, 08/31/2011 - 3:55am
Updated: Wed, 08/31/2011 - 4:14pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s been three days since Hurricane Irene, but debris still litters many New Hanover County yards. County leaders are waiting to see if FEMA will pick up the bill for the clean-up, but for now, one commissioner says it’s not the county’s responsibility and he doesn’t want to pay for it.

Large piles of debris are a common sight in New Hanover County since Irene passed over the weekend, and as the county decides how they’re going to pay for the clean-up many concerned citizens are taking their complaints to the web.

Their e-mails all seem to say the same thing: New Hanover County residents want anything left behind by irene gone and quick.

New Hanover County Commissioner Jason Thompson says the answer is simple: you get what you pay for.

“Most of them are saying, ‘The city’s picking up debris. Why don’t you do it in the county?’ Well, it’s very simple. They city charges and budgets for this service, because yardside clean-up is part of their core responsibility. The county does not, because it’s not what we do on a daily basis. We tried to address this, and we heard loud and clear from the community: ‘Stay out of our yards. We’ll contract our own trash clean up.’ And now all of a sudden that it costs them, they don’t wanna do it.”

Thompson says he does not think Irene caused enough damage in the county for New Hanover to get FEMA funding. He says that means individuals must pick up the bill.

Thompson says the county could pay nearly $500,000 for the clean-up, but he thinks it’s a waste.

“Well, the county could decide to spend the money and do it, but the citizens would ultimately have to pay for that,” Thompson said. “And we’ve had a commission that doesn’t have the will, in my opinion, they like to spend money and provide serves, but they don’t like to pay for it. Well, at some point, we have to pay for what we provide.”

For now, Thompson says the citizens of New Hanover County are getting just what they pay for with their taxes. Nothing more, nothing less.

Yesterday the county told resident they could call their trash hauler to make arrangements for debris pick up, or they may choose from one of four private companies accepting yard debris at a fee. One of those companies was Diversified Biomass, which is owned by Thompson.


  • Simple says:

    Here a simple question nobody has asked, What did the county do during the last storms that came through here?

  • msmaureen says:

    Dear County and board members
    Just pick up the debris ….stop passing the buck who pays for what. Try doing something really clever, like chipping, mulching it, then using it around town to do something worth while..instead of all this BURNING.

  • Guest757 says:

    If Mr. Thompson says “we get what we pay for” I guess the people in New Hanover County have forgotten about the County spending for the Gravely… We paid for that and received NOTHING in return…Did we Mr. Thompson?? So how dare he say we get what we pay for…

  • taxpayeriam says:

    Does Diversified Biomass have a contract with the county or city.Did the County Commissioner that owns the company that did air quality study have a contract with the county or city.Did the County Commissioner that is a realtor have any thing to do with the land that has been purchased by the county.Why do we not have a place that we can deposit our debris it seems we have county landfill our were we just being told R3 was nothing to just a lie,and are we not paying thousands
    of dollars a month to run something or is the county taxpayers paying for the city to dump there trash.R3 CFPUA WASTETECH LAND county taxpayers money for all this things and no place to put debris from the hurricane.Is CFPUA UNDER THE NORTH CAROLINA UTILITY AUTHORITY THAT REQUIRES APPROVAL FROM THE STATE TO RAISE FEES OR DOES THE New Hanover County Commissioners have to vote on a increase.Or did we just give what the taxpayers paid for to a private company.

  • Guest6979 says:

    I live in the middle of the city and I just got home from work to see the pile of limbs and trash cans full of leaves and pine straw in the same place that I left them on Sunday when I cleaned my yard. Not to mention half of my recycling is still in the bin. I was lucky and had less debris then a normal fall yard cleaning and I expected to get the service I over pay for from CFPOS (not a typo). We were not hit hard so people with the county and city should stop their complaining money get off their tails and do their job.

  • Guest432 says:

    I want tv 3 to find out if the county has a contract with Diversified Biomass. If so, how can he legally own a company and have a contract with the county. Most government agencies use low bids. If Diversified is contracted with the county then, Jason saw the other bids and put his bid in to be equal to theirs. Please check on this.

  • Carol Kramer says:

    In a town I once lived in, we had worked out a good scheme. We’d haul our yard debris to an isolated area in the corner of our county park. The county would put all the debris through a wood chipper and make big piles. Any town resident could come and get mulch for free, taking from the oldest piles first.

  • GREG says:

    I am so damn tired of seeing this idiot Jason Thompson get on here and talk of not having it both ways and all this nonsense. Firat off the trash proposal for the county had nothing to do with debris removal. Their proposal was to use on a couple companies to supply the trash service, that would have eliminated other haulers and jobs. We would have paid for the service anyway just as we pay our trash collectors now. Never in the past, as many storms as we have gotten, have we had such a problem with debris removal. I guess it just must be the elected group we have now, that is just bad. At least we dont have to re-elect. People must understand that the economy sucks, and people are laid off. There are lots of people that cannot afford to pay to have debris removed. Not all of us have had it as nice as Ol J.T. and had someone else to stroke our checks for a business.

  • Guest says:

    Fine Jason, tell county engineering to stay out of our neighborhood too.

    You will not be re elected.

  • Guest says:

    Hell would have to freeze over before I utilized Jason Thompson’s business. Thankfully he isn’t the only option.

  • GuestLee says:

    No, it doesn’t make sense (see my post “Rainy Day Fund”).

    County taxpayers consistently pay monies to city organizations and services because the city would never be able to get enough money from their few residents to pay for it all (unless they GREATLY increased your property taxes). You need to look at the BIG picture instead of your tiny little piece of the pie.

  • GuestLee says:

    The county doesn’t have a “rainy day fund”. Jason Thompson said so.

    Using the same track of thinking as “Why Should City Taxpayers”, the county also budgets funds for the city, such as:

    Schools within the city limits, 911 services (also used by city residents), food banks within the city, charitable organizations within the city, and cultural resources (various museums within city limits), etc., etc., etc. For a complete list, go to page 17 of the Adopted 2011-2012 New Hanover County budget.

    If county taxpayers didn’t “contribute” to all these city organizations and services, there would be enough money to budget for a “rainy day fund” for debris removal.

    If you were twice as smart as you are now, you’d be absolutely stupid.

  • Guest says:

    Not complaining about paying taxes but will complain when as a city and county taxpayer to have to pay for something in the unincorportated that they are not pay for themselves. Make sense?

  • Guest says:


    Read the previous posts more carefully. “Why Should City Taxpayers” is arguing against using the county’s rainy day fund to provide debris pickup for non-city, county residents. Since city property owners contribute to both the city and county funds, using the county’s rainy day fund to provide trash services just for those living in the county (and not those in the city) would be unfair. Would you ever consider paying for a city landowners trash service? I doubt it. You get what you pay for.

    This is a great illustartion about why the Tea Party is a fad and will die a short death. Those within the movement choose their own facts and then complain when they get what they argue for. No taxes = no services. Simple.

    City property owner and proud of it.

  • RSimmons says:

    Refreshing to hear an honest un-nuanced statement from a elected official for once. Too bad he doesn’t do it more often.

  • GuestLee says:

    The city may have picked up your storm debris, but it’s costing you twice as much property taxes to live in the city as it does in the county. In reality, you’re paying for those services. I would rather pay a hauling fee every 10 years or so to have my debris removed than pay property taxes every year. I’m still WAY ahead of the game.

    I’ve figure I’ve saved about $20,000 in property taxes over the last 30 years by living in the county instead of the city. I think I can afford to have a little debris hauled away.

  • Guest says:

    I did like the rest of my neighbors and stuffed the storm debris in the storm drain by my house. It was hard to lift that heavy grate off but we managed move it and then pack that drain full of all the debris it was perfect. you would be suprised at the amount of debris you can wedge into a storm drain. I think we got three yards worth. The great thing is now the county has to come and clean the drain. I live in a house with a elevated foundation so I don’t care if it floods on the next storm. What do they say don’t hate the player hate the game. Remember we play by “their” rules.

  • Just off to the right slightly... says:

    After paying all of the CFPUA demands and ransoms they threatened us with and and all we had to endure before we tapped their lines illegaly… We love what you just said! We are upping our standards until the CFPUA realises it’s time to “UP THEIRS”!

  • Guest2012 says:

    He has always been the arrogant SOB, and we kept re-electing him over and over and over and over again!
    He is leaving on his own accord, we’re finally going to be free of him at last. we better take this lesson seriously before we keep putting idiots in power at local, state and especially before the national election.
    it is time to unite fellow citizens!

    God help us!!!

  • GuestLee says:

    What he lacks in intelligence, he more than makes up for in stupidity.

    I guess since he’s not going to run again because he doesn’t have a chance in hell to get re-elected, he decided to get one last dig in. He’s basically putting up his middle finger to the citizens of New Hanover County.

  • GuestLee says:

    There is no advantage being a city resident if you’re referring to debris pickup. You pay twice the taxes (City AND County) that I pay. Over the past 30 years, I’ve saved about $20,000 by not paying City taxes, so even if I do have to pay for pickup, I’m still way ahead of you.

  • Guest says:

    Your solid waste fees pay for just YOUR pickup…no one else’s.

    As far as property taxes, if you were stupid enough to buy a house in the city, knowing you would have to pay city AND county taxes, why complain now? You made the choice, now quit belly aching about it.

  • Guest says:

    Why should city taxpayers help pay for debris pickup in the unincorporated areas from general funds monies that I contribute to also? I pay for yard debris pickup with my solid waste fees and don’t think I should pay for their problem. All those residents who complained about the county taking over solid waste might be rethinking their decision. I guess there in an advantage to being a city resident.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    We will not surrender to tyranny, corruption, and blatant conflicts of interest.

  • Guest says:

    Be very careful with a roofing guy who does work downtown on metal roofs. He is fully capable of taking your down payment and not coming back for 6 months to a year.

  • Guest1313 says:

    BUT, I agree with Commissioner Thompson (which doesn’t happen often). Too often do people not want to pay for things until they need them or it’s more convenient to them. If the county does not do waste removal bc the county residents don’t want it, then don’t come crying when there’s a lot of waste

  • Paul says:

    Thompson is right on this. I didn’t like being annexed a decade ago and sure didn’t like the extra taxes that went along with it. HOWEVER, my new city taxes and trash collection fees include picking up this kind of debris. Before I was annexed IT DID NOT.
    You can’t have it both ways people. This libertarian Republican grudgingly is behind Thompson on this one. County taxes go for county budget. Storm debris collection IS NOT in the county budget. If you want it, then taxes/fees have to go up. It’s quite simple.

  • bart says:

    It is the responsibility of the property owner. When you cut your lawn or do “normal” clean up, who is responsible?

  • GuestLee says:

    We’re NOT talking about cleaning up your yard; we’re talking about citizens who clean up storm debris from their yard and leave it on the side of the road hoping it will be picked up. This is not a “normal” cleanup. Geeeezzzzzzz!

  • Guest says:

    Once again, Thompson is voting against hurricane debris, why because he wants us to pay him by using his company to come pick up the debris.

    We aren’t asking for a handout, but given the fact that a Hurricane came through, one would think that the commissioners that we have elected would have enough common sense to budget for hurricane debris removal since we live along the coast.

    You knew the commissioners didn’t have the will to stop spending money but you decided that you wanted to be a part of the team so that you as well can receive an undeserved salary.

    Look at the county budget, why do we pay for cell phone service for these individuals? Are they only using that cell phone for business or are they using it for personal use as well. I wish my employer paid by cell phone bill each month. I am sure if we looked deeper into the budget we certainly could find alot more ways to save money for the county. In the private sector, when you don’t perform your job, you don’t have a job. Why is it that once a State or County employee, and you don’t do your job, you get to keep it. Makes no sense!

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    Immediately, this tyrant links it to his push for the county to dictate every aspect of trash collection. Of course, had we all leapt up and down crying, “Yes, please tell us who we have to use and eliminate all choices,” it STILL wouldn’t be in place. Plus, the county has usually done it and they have the money to do it now.

    My yard trash gets stacked this weekend and burned when it’s a bit drier. Here’s the link for a burning permit:

    I don’t need the county to take care of this and I certainly don’t need wannabe dictators like Benito Thompson and Idi Barfield telling me who I will use for my trash hauling.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    Irene was in Surf City on Saturday. Surf City announced on Monday that they will arrange a pick up in the near future which will allow property owners sufficient time to collect debris.

    I did not like the way it looked in my yard. Mine was bundled and bagged on Sunday; gone on Monday.

    The “what’s in it for me” mentality has got to stop.

  • Guest7969 says:

    doing the same…WITHOUT a permit…SCREW EM!

  • Guest7969 says:

    JERK…! How about the county STOPS TAKING EXTRA TAX DOLLARS to pad for this type of stuff. If your just going to use it for your own little pet projects…then I can spend it better than you can on my own! HOLY COW I cannot WAIT to vote against this horses rear!

  • Guest says:

    I guess Jason never learned that a sharp tongue does not mean you have a keen mind.

    We live in a hurricane-prone county…always have, always will. Smart county leaders would remember that and budget for such unforeseen circumstances for their citizens.

    It doesn’t matter if “The city charges and budgets for this service, because yardside clean-up is part of their core responsibility. The county does not, because it’s not what we do on a daily basis.” Just because they don’t do yardside cleanup on a daily basis doesn’t mean the county shouldn’t foresee these things happening and budget accordingly for their citizens. It’s call long range planning.

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