Aiken, S.C. -
Aiken City officials are focusing on the process they are following to remove storm debris from streets.Residents have been dealing with piles of broken trees and other fragments from the storm for about two months now.
City Manager Richard Pearce said work began about six weeks ago and they are about half way done.
“We've picked up just under a hundred thousand cubic yards of debris.We could have as much as a hundred cubic yards more,” Pearce said.
City Council members hammered out the process of clean up during a special meeting, targeting the downtown area before Masters guests arrive. Pearce said the second goal is to clear the rest of the city of its debris before summer.Meanwhile, he said the city is calculating costs and hoping FEMA picks up the bill.
He said, “We've probably spent somewhere between 50 and 100 thousand dollars on overtime, equipment and those kind of purchases.”
Pearce also said Aiken's downtown and Northeast sections of town are the worst.City leaders debated whether South Carolina Department of Transportation contractors or city workers should rid certain streets in those areas of the rubbish.All determined the state would only pick up debris in the historic area in order to allow local workers to give downtown its Aiken touch during tree work.
City Councilman Dick Dewar said, “For debris pick up, it doesn't make any difference who does it.We just need to get it done.Our residents have been very patient.They should be convinced that we're working as hard as we can to get their debris picked up.”
Pearce added the city is compiling paperwork for FEMA reimbursement.He does not know a total figure yet, but he said everything will be presented to FEMA this week