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.