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Will storm debris ever be picked up?

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Second contractor a no-show to pick up trees, limbs from residences

By BEN CARLSON

Getting storm debris picked up under a state contract continues to be a problem in Anderson County.

A contractor who was supposed to pick up debris beginning Monday was nowhere to be seen as of Tuesday afternoon.

“No crew has showed up yet,” Judge-Executive Steve Cornish said. “We haven’t heard anything from them.”

That disappearing act marks the second time in the past two weeks that a contractor who signed a state contract to remove storm debris from last month’s ice storm has failed to deliver. The first one was supposed to begin Feb. 16, but left town in short order.

“Bad news,” Cornish said during last Tuesday night’s meeting of the Anderson County Fiscal Court. “The contractor showed up, said he wasn’t making enough money, pulled up stakes and left.”

That decision left city and county officials in a lurch after spending the several previous days working out details with the contractor and letting residents know that debris would be collected. That notification included a story on the front page of last week’s edition of The Anderson News, which was already printed before Cornish announced the contractor had left town.

Cornish said T and F Containers signed on with the state to provide collection at the end of last week.

During the meeting, Cornish said state highway crews were planning to collect debris on state roads, but indicated later that the new contractor would likely pick up that debris, too.

The contract was initiated by the state to ease the financial burden on communities and to assist residents unable to haul off their own debris.

The contract, though, apparently doesn’t pay enough per cubic yard, prompting many contractors to leave this area for Western Kentucky, where the storm was worse and more debris available to be collected.

Debris removal has been a hot topic since the storm that fell trees and power lines countywide.

Within days of after the storm, the city and county allowed residents to bring storm debris to burn piles located at the city maintenance garage off Woodford Street and county highway barn off Versailles Road.

Both said they would accept debris only from homeowners, and that contractors being paid to pick it up would have to take it to a landfill.

Magistrate David Ruggles questioned that policy during last Tuesday’s fiscal court meeting, saying some contractors were making the problem worse by dumping debris along county roads.

He said that forces county crews to pick it up and take it to the burn pile, adding work that wasn’t necessary.

“We’re letting people come in and cut it up [at the burn pile] for firewood anyway,” he said. “It’s organic material we are just going to burn.”

Cornish agreed, but no action was taken to allow contractors to dump debris at the county’s site.

E-mail Ben Carlson at bcarlson@theandersonnews.com.