The Carter County Fiscal Court have met in special session several times now to discuss plans for cleanup in the aftermath of devastating ice storms. On Monday night they met again in regular session and ER Assist – the company that is helping the county organize their cleanup efforts – was on the agenda there too.
The county truly appears to be doing what they can to begin planning cleanup efforts while waiting for FEMA declarations that will help pay for that cleanup. We understand that it is important for these kinds of cleanups to begin as soon as possible. County roads can already be perilously narrow, even without brush piled up on the nearly non-existent shoulders. School buses need turn-abouts and side roads cleared so they can turn around at the end of a route. It’s easy to get frustrated when it isn’t happening as quickly as you’d like.
We’re asking you to please be patient while the cleaning efforts ramp up despite this, and please don’t take your frustration out on county road crews or on the contractors who will be coming in to help with the eventual cleanup. It isn’t their fault, and it isn’t the fault of your local magistrates or the judge executive. It’s simply the glacial speed that any large project – especially one encumbered by federal bureaucracy – moves at.
If you live inside city limits, and have things you need cleaned up, don’t blame the county for not working on it either. Same for state routes. We’ve already seen this happening on social media, and it’s important to remember that the county cannot work on state routes, nor can they work on city roads within city limits. Those roads are the responsibility of the state or the municipality to cleanup, and they all have their own cleanup plans in place as well. We ask that you be patient with them too, though.
You can also help make sure that, once the cleanup does begin, everything you need cleaned up is hauled away by doing some work while we’re waiting. Crews are very restricted in the areas they are allowed to work on. They aren’t allowed to go onto private land, but they must cleanup any debris that is within the county right-of-way. This means if you have a tree that is leaning onto the right-of-way, and you don’t want it cut, you should begin taking measures to secure it now. If you want the whole tree removed crews can only do so if all, or most, of the tree has fallen into the right-of-way.
If you place debris from your yard into the right-of-way crews will remove that debris when they work your road, according to the county.
Debris Tech, the company working to document and monitor the cleanup, is also hiring temporary workers for their monitoring work. They will train and provide all equipment, and pay $12 an hour for 12 to 14 hour days, six to seven days per week during the cleanup period. These jobs include monitoring and documentation only, no physical cleanup work is required. Those interested in monitoring positions can find more information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are looking for temporary or extra work, you might consider checking into these opportunities.
There are a lot of challenges to work through while we get these messes cleaned up. It will be easy to get frustrated with how slow it seems to be going. But there are also opportunities. Work opportunities with folks like Debris Tech, and opportunities to see just how your local, county and state government should – and are – working for you.
We ask that you keep everything in perspective. If criticism is due, and it’s possible some will be, make sure it’s aimed at the right organization or agency. But before you criticize, make sure it’s warranted too.
We got through this by helping each other and being good neighbors. Let’s not stop now.