Chatham Co. Commission discusses cost of TS Hermine cleanup - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Chatham Co. Commission discusses cost of TS Hermine cleanup

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(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

A week into the cleanup process following Tropical Storm Hermine, the Chatham County Commission is getting a clearer picture of how much it's costing you, the taxpayer.

Right now, Chatham County is looking at a little more than a half -million dollars in unbudgeted expenses, and there's still weeks’ worth of debris cleanup left. That money is coming out of reserve funds right now.

Chatham County commissioners are facing the sober reality that, because certain thresholds weren't met to open up a stream of federal funding, taxpayers will have to foot the bill for the cleanup effort currently underway.

As of right now, all the crews available for debris cleanup have hauled off 170 truckloads of debris, which equates to roughly 2,700 cubic yards of material.  Around 40 trees downed across roadways have been cut up and removed. And even though Chatham County has activated the state-wide mutual aid agreements, pulling in resources from as far as four hours away, an end to the cleanup is still weeks away.

"We've hit each route, but with minimal impact. I can tell you right now, that in The Landings, Skidaway Island alone, we've only been on nine percent of the streets. Which tells me we have at least nine to 10 more days in just the Skidaway route, which is Tuesday's route. But you do that kind of estimation, then you are looking at about 25 to 28 days,” said Chatham County Publics Works Director Robert Drewry.

Drewry adds that time estimate isn't set in stone. As long as all their resources are tied up with debris cleanup, they can't mow roadsides, clean ditches, maintain canals or pick up bulky items.

The island residents all can't wait to see that debris picked up. They also understand the massive job in front of public works' crews, though.

"I'm grateful for the services that they offer. I know that they're tied up in other areas, and I know we had a lot of help from Alabama and South Carolina with the cleanup and the power restoration and things like that. It just seems that they're overwhelmed right now,” said Whitemarsh resident Arnie Howard.

"I can't imagine because I've walked around the island here. I do a lot of walking. I saw a lot of downed trees and it was worse on the west side,” said Whitemarsh resident Joe Harwell.

Also on the agenda for Chatham County Commissioners, was a measure that funnels more than $120,000 of confiscated funds to the Counter Narcotics Team to help purchase tasers and covert surveillance equipment. That measure passed in a unanimous vote.

The Chatham County Commission also voted to fund the Savannah Area Film Office by approving their partnership with the Savannah Economic Development Authority.

Commissioners voted to pass a memorandum of understanding that will fund the Film Office with an investment of $100,000 over the next year in quarterly payments.

The film office will have to submit reports to the county twice a year in order to receive those payments. The contract can be extended or renegotiated next year.

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