Thompson: Storm debris not county's problem
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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.

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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

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.

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.

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

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.