The Board of Alderman passed a three-pronged resolution Tuesday to enhance clean-up efforts stemming from the Oct. 13 severe thunderstorm, lessening the burden on affected citizens and community groups assisting with debris removal.
Encompassing a 40-day period from the date of the storm, the resolution enacts the following:
• The city ordinance requiring all curbside debris to fall within specific dimensions, namely 8 inches in diameter and 10 feet in length, will be temporarily lifted, allowing cleanup crews to remove intermingled limbs and branches
• All landfill fees originating from storm debris, including tickets already collected in the immediate aftermath of the storm, will be deemed null and void
Furthermore, the board moved to consolidate equipment and crews across numerous departments to increase cleanup efficiency, since the city's “Knuckle Boom” crane is unable to handle material outside of the ordinance. The city's street, electric, water and sewer departments will contribute additional dump trucks and drivers, and the landscaping division will become fully dedicated to the effort.
Although total damages fell far short of the $3.2 million required to trigger federal assistance, the city of Starkville has not seen storm damage this severe in several years. Even so, city crews restored power to 98 percent of Starkville Electric Department rate payers and rendered all roads passable within 24 hours of the storm.
“This speaks to a monumental effort of our sanitation and electric employees just to get to a place where we could assess the real nature of the damage we faced and what our cleanup efforts looked like after that,” said Taylor Adams, chief administrative officer. “Our sanitation department has used every resource at their disposal and has done that for six days a week.”