Dorchester Co. pulls extra $1.7 million from reserve fund for storm cleanup

Dorchester County pulls an extra $1.7 million from reserve fund for storm cleanup


Dorchester County needs over a million dollars more to clean up debris following last month's ice storm. Friday, Council members approved taking an additional $1.7 million from their "rainy day" fund for debris removal. This money is on top of $800,000 already pulled for it in February.

Councilman David Chinnis says crews are still finding massive amounts of dangling limbs and leaning trees, primarily in the western region of the county.

"75,000 cubic yards of debris is being collected," said Chinnis.

A Federal Emergency Management Agency modeling program did the initial estimate for debris in Dorchester County. While they did estimate the volume of debris correctly, Chinnis says the number of dangerous limbs hanging from trees were almost entirely overlooked.

"Its very hard to predict how many hanging limbs will be in trees following an ice storm," said Simon Carlyle, Deputy Director of Client Service for Leidos.

Carlyle spoke on behalf of Leidos at the meeting. They are the third party monitoring and documenting the cleanup effort.

Dorchester County is aiming to get 80 percent of the reserve fund money spent reimbursed by FEMA. They plan to put straight back in the reserve fund, which is now down to just around $1 million, according to Chinnis.

In order to get the maximum reimbursement, the county has to follow specific procedures. Photos and measurements of the limb of the debris is documented and part of Leidos' report that will go to FEMA.

"We have monitors that are watching this and they're basically watching to report back to the federal government saying this is done, so that's adding to the cost of picking it up," said Chinnis.

Dorchester County Council says the cleanup job is 65 percent done, with around 24 crews out everyday. Carlyle says the goal is to have the debris fully removed in less than 90 days, so they can receive the most incentives under the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act. 

Dorchester County residents who still have storm debris on their private property are asked to call public works. County officials say they will arrange for it to be picked up, as long as it's on a public street. They also suggest coordinating with your neighbors to make sure the debris pile is put in a safe spot on the street.

Council members also said that they've spoken with officials from Colleton and Berkeley counties. They say those areas are also having to reassess how much money they're putting into the cleanup effort.

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