Matthew debris pickup costing more than expected

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Hurricane Matthew is wreaking havoc of another kind, forcing Chatham County Commissioners to amend their budget yet again to compensate for an increase in costs for debris removal.

To make it worse, some people have not seen a tree debris removal truck on their side of town at all.

Where I am on Middleground Road, the pile is so large it's actually blocking people from seeing the road from their homes. The county says to have patience, so far they've picked up 60 percent of the debris as of Wednesday.

"We just had a nice storm and it left debris behind," said Donna Scott-Santschi.

"It makes the neighborhood look kind of trashy," said Byron Hall.

All of these people living on the Southside still have storm debris in front of their homes. Some are worried it may kill their grass.

"I'm kind of tired of looking at it wondering are they going to come, are they not going to come," said Scott-Santschi.

But help is on the way. A map from last week's council meeting showed where they had picked up and the areas have drastically increased since then.

The cost to pick up debris is now more than $22 million. That's more than $6 million up from the initial estimate. If FEMA will reimburse the county, the cost will be just under $2 million for the county.

But for people who are still looking at debris after more than a month, it can be quite irritating.

"A tad bit annoying to have to come home and it's still there and wake up in the morning and it's still there," said Hall.

The county says the amount of debris goes beyond original estimates. They're hoping to change the budget around so they can add more money to pay Hurricane Matthew expenses.

"I do understand that everybody's trying to get their job done but don't forget about certain areas. You can't focus on one area in the city," said Hall.

The county commissioners will vote Friday morning.

Also, Thursday they signed and sent off the appeal letter to FEMA to hopefully be reimbursed for the millions they're spending to pick up debris.

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