City officials this week approved a plan to gather and burn debris left in the wake of this month’s ice storm.
The cleanup of primarily trees and limbs begins Monday. The effort will cost the city an estimated $50,000, Greenwood Mayor Del Gabbard said.
“I was here for the 2000 storm,” he said. “We had so much more damage this time it was unreal.”
During a special session, the City Council on Wednesday night offered its blessing to hire six temporary cleanup helpers and fund other costs like a six-month, $2,000 land lease for the burn site. The city is following guidelines set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in hopes of receiving a reimbursement of up to 87 percent of the cleanup’s costs.
“There’s no guarantee, ever, with FEMA that you’re going to get any money back,” councilman Lance Terry said. “So if we get it back, it’s a bonus. But we’re going to have to do it regardless.”
Street Department Director Joe Manes said the city will be allowed to burn debris for 120 days.
“Whenever we start burning, we have to have someone on site 24/7,” he said. “It will extend to the full length of the burn time.”
It was unclear under FEMA guidelines whether residents will be able to transport storm debris to the burn site off Center Street.
“Whether the people of Greenwood can or can’t bring it, it’s got to be done,” Councilman Tim Terry said.
Gabbard said he considered hiring a cleanup contractor before deciding to utilize city manpower instead.
“They wanted over $500,000 to do it,” Gabbard said. “We’re going to go ahead and do it ourselves, but I’m going to need to have six people in order to do it. I’ll be hiring them as temporaries.”