Tybee will pick up costs of Matthew debris cleanup, hopes FEMA could reimburse

Tybee considering picking up costs for cleanup
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)

TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WTOC) - (Update: Nov. 30 at 9:30 p.m.): The City of Tybee Island will move forward with storm damage cleanup, including picking up building debris and on private roads.

Wednesday, council approved contracts and will foot the bill for nearly $2.5 million in hopes of FEMA eventually picking up some of the cost.

Tybee's mayor said Tuesday he's hopeful that pickup can begin by the end of the week.


Nearly two months after Hurricane Matthew, debris pickup on Tybee Island is nearing the final stage. But there's still a lot left behind.

Instead of waiting for FEMA, the city is eyeing moving forward anyway.

Tybee Mayor Jason Buelterman said city council will meet Wednesday to consider several contracts that, if approved, could get the ball rolling on all debris cleanup by the end of the week.

"There's a couple of outstanding issues. One of which is non-organic waste, which is stuff that was pulled out of people's homes. And we're hoping to approve a contract so they can get started late this week or early next week," said Mayor Buelterman.

Another unfinished task is removing the tons of tree debris from private drives.

Buelterman said, "It's my attitude that we should remove all of that regardless of whether we get reimbursed by FEMA. It's just something that we have to do for the purposes of public safety."

Buelterman said the dollar amount on what it will set the city back has not been determined but adds enough money has been set aside to handle the cost.

In the meantime, debris continues to pile up on the North Beach parking lot. But for how long?

We checked in with the clean up project manager.

"Fingers crossed, and everything works out... January," said Atkins Project Manager Paul Ferraro.

The loss of parking, and of the normally scenic view, has been rough on North Beach Bar and Grill.

"We're about fifty percent, a little greater, down from what we would've done this time last year," said the restaurant's co-owner George Spriggs.

Spriggs acknowledged the parking lot in front of his business is the only place that can handle the debris pile, but the lost profit is still tough to accept.

"There are days where it's really frustrating, that you know it's 70, 75, 77 degrees...and you know what the normal ambiance and the normal view, and the normal accessibility is. You get a little frustrated when you see this. But then you have to stop and think, it has to be done."

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