Biloxi Debris Removal Almost To Halfway Point

The few citizens who came to the Biloxi public hearing mainly wanted clarification about their right of entry permits and what they can expect from city crews that will go on their property to remove trees and other debris.

The city wants people to grant access to their land before March 15. That's when FEMA will stop paying 100% to clear away the debris.

"And of course it would cost the city a lot of money if it's not done by the 15th of March," says Mayor A.J. Holloway.

Jonathan Kiser of the company monitoring the removal says, "Without having a right of entry, the city has to go through a condemnation process to remove the debris. If it's not removed under this program, at some point if could fall to the homeowner and be their responsibility to clear their own properties."

Most people are more than willing to let the city handle the cleanup. But the mayor says it's hard for some to let go of the only homes they've known. That's why the mayor says they try to be sensitive when going on peoples' property.

"We have found two bodies since we started, so we don't want to just go in there and pick it up and throw it in a dump truck. We're taking our time and picking it up very gently."

The mayor says they never dreamed they would need the services of a stand-by contractor they hired in June.

"That contractor cleared 49 streets in the City of Biloxi , moved that debris all the way to Highway 90, didn't haul it away to later on, but that gave us the opportunity to bid the other permit work that we had done."

Holloway says that foresight has spared the city a lot of delays.

Clean up crews began going on private property in late October. Almost 2,000 right of entry forms have been signed and almost 1,000 of those properties have been cleared.