County to place dumpsters to assist with tornado debris cleanup

Published 8:53 pm Thursday, March 30, 2023

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The Troup County Board of Commissioners held a special emergency meeting Thursday afternoon to discuss damage from the category EF-3 tornado that crossed the southern part of the county.

Initial damage assessments from teams sent out by the county have confirmed that at least 23 homes were totally destroyed, 26 sustained major damage, 41 homes had minor damage and 57 homes were at least partially affected, which could be as minimal as a roofing shingle blown off.

That does not include the businesses and churches that were damaged by the storm nor the vehicles and other property damaged by hail.

Deputy Chief Appraiser Dan Smith said the total value of assessed property loss is about $8,650,000. That’s just tax digest loss. Market value losses could be 1.5 or twice that amount, he said.

“We will make sure that these numbers are reflected on tax bills this year. That’s something that the Board of Assessors want to make sure that we don’t count a house that’s completely destroyed then you get a tax bill for it.”

The primary reason for the meeting was to discuss how to handle and clear the untold amounts of debris created by storm damage.

The commissioners discussed potentially allowing residents to push the debris to the right of way and either have the county haul it off or contract to do so. Either way, clearing all of the debris, including downed trees and limbs, is estimated to cost millions of dollars.

Making matters worse, it isn’t immediately clear if the county or property owners will receive federal recovery funds from FEMA. Statewide damages would need to clear $19 million to receive funds from FEMA.

Many volunteer organizations have begun helping people clean up the storm, but they don’t know where to put the debris.

Ultimately, the commissioners voted to authorize County Manager Eric Mosley to place roll-off construction dumpsters to assist with the cleanup in the community of West Point that suffered the most damage from the storm.

Purchasing Director Diana Evans said the roll-off dumpsters can be rented at $500 per load, which includes transport and tipping fees.

The vote authorized Mosley to place the bins as he deems fit and for Chairman Patrick Crews to sign off on emergency-related items as needed.

Multiple commissioners said they have also received complaints about people getting ticketed for the debris.

Mosley said no citations have been given for debris that hasn’t been cleaned up or placed in the right-of-way. He said one warning was issued by a Troup County marshal.

Road Superintendent Kevin Kinnersley explained that the written warning was issued after someone was repeatedly warned not to place debris in a drainage ditch that had been cleaned out and someone did so anyway in front of a marshal.