Tybee Island hosts hurricane recovery Q&A with officials

Tybee Island hosts hurricane recovery Q&A with officials

TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WTOC) - Tybee Island residents are got some important questions answered and registered with FEMA during a town hall meeting with emergency management, debris cleanup and city officials.

The meeting at the island's public safety building comes following two solid weeks of cleanup, with much more on the horizon as life continues to normalize one step at a time for Tybee's government and residents alike.

FEMA and CEMA representatives, along with Tybee's city manager, were on hand to cover a variety of topics. Residents were particularly interested in debris pickup, especially along private roads, right off the bat.

Occupying most of the parking lot of North Beach is the debris collection and processing operation, already raking in more than 19,000 cubic yards of debris to date from around Tybee. But the debris that sits along private roads remains because the City can't collect it with a guarantee of reimbursement from FEMA, which is currently picking up 75% of disaster relief costs.

"If we don't get approval, then it's 100% of the City's cost. So I want to make sure that you all know that. And so we're working on getting an RFP to get a quote for removing on the private roads, the debris removal. So we're working on that," said Tybee Island City Manager Diane Schleicher.

The focus right now is clearing up public roads, the first phase wrapping up sometime in the next two weeks according to removal company reps. Some areas, like Lewis Avenue, are still showing fresh signs of storm cleanup.

"We're still hurting. We've got a lot of work in front of us and we're just moving forward slowly one step at a time to try to get back into the houses and the houses done as well," said Julia Foster, a displaced Lewis Ave. resident.

At Tuesday's meeting, around two-dozen people registered with FEMA reps and got some lingering questions answered. A property manager asked what her housekeeping staff could do about lost wages due to the hurricane evacuation.

"The answer was they should contact the Georgia Department of Labor, even if they're an outside vendor," said Joy Pohjalainen, a Tybee Island property manager.

A FEMA representative says to stay vigilant when it comes to individual cases.

"If they don't receive information back from FEMA within fourteen days, they need to call back to the 1-800 number (1-800-621-3362) and follow up on their claim. They will be given a number once they register, and they need to hold onto that number," said FEMA Media Relations Specialist Gary Petty.

Petty also encourages residents to be mindful of scammers, and to check contractor registration before any work is done.

The residents on Lewis Avenue pride themselves on their Halloween spirit every year, unfortunately, this year trick-or-treating won't be allowed along that block.

The city manager did say the Tybee YMCA is offering up space at Memorial Park for a "Trunk-or-Treat" instead.

A few tips were listed on the agenda for Tuesday's public meeting: 

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