2017-09-21 / Front Page

County is preparing site to burn Irma debris once necessary permit to proceed is issued

To save money on the disposal of debris left in the wake of Hurricane Irma last week, county officials are working to secure arrangements for a burn permit so that massive amounts of trees, limbs, and leaves can be burned. The effort involves the county, the City of Washington, and the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The proposed site for the burn is off Paper Pak Parkway on county property in the vicinity of the industrial park and the Youth Detention Center.

“We’ve been declared a disaster area and we have probably cleaned up over 100 trees just out of the roads,” Wilkes County Commission Chairman Sam Moore said. “We still have a lot to clean up out of the rights of way and it’s going to be quite a job just to get cleaned up. Richard McAvoy and his people are doing a great job with it.”

Without a burn permit, a chipper or other disposal method would have to be employed at greater expense.

In addition, Wilkes County EMA Director Blake Thompson reported that he has requested that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) evaluate Wilkes County’s situation and provide funding for cleanup efforts. He said he hopes that such funding would provide 87 cents on the dollar based on actual costs.

County Attorney Charles LeGette asked if individuals would be eligible for funding for house repairs or rebuilding. For individuals, Thompson responded, money might be made available as low-interest loans.

Thompson said he is waiting on a response from FEMA but has not heard anything yet.

All of the commissioners were in attendance at the regular September meeting of the board held last Thursday, September 14, in the Wilkes County courthouse.

In other business, County Clerk Karen Burton reported that Local Option Sales Tax for the month of July 2017 had been received in the amount of $56,568.11, Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax amounted to $87,027.94, and TSPLOST was $79,427.47.

Commissioners granted tax relief to Lucille Ingram due to an error on the Tax Commissioner’s computer.

Moore complimented Thompson and Amy Howard for their work on disaster relief and on the paperwork involved with securing FEMA aid.

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