Don’t drag feet on debris cleanup

Published 12:01 am Sunday, July 3, 2011

Vicksburg’s aldermen again are taking care of business.

North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield and Sid Beauman of the South Ward voted to have city employees remove debris left by the Mississippi River’s flooding. Mayor Paul Winfield voted to hire an outside firm for monitoring and debris removal in hopes the entire bill would be picked up by the federal government.

The wheels of government on the federal level move slowly. Usually those wheels are wrapped in rolls of red tape. Efficiency is minimal. Projects take time.

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Hiring these outside officials in hopes of reimbursement would have taken time. Lots of time.

All the while the muddy, moldy refuse of what used to be people’s belongings fester under the sweltering Mississippi summer sun. A health hazard to say the least.

Instead of waiting — Mayfield estimated it would be at least three weeks before outside companies would be able to start — the aldermen voted against the wishes of the mayor. Trucks began rolling into affected areas of North Vicksburg on Tuesday.

“We’ve got problems with mold, snakes, rodents … we’ve got to get that debris up today,” Mayfield said.

City purchasing director Tim Smith said the city could hire and train monitors for about $1,120. The findings would then be sent to the feds for possible reimbursement. Housework by city employees for debris removal will not be reimbursed, but any overtime costs will be.

The board’s divisions are obvious — Winfield for the “federal-first, wait-and-see option” to problem-solving and Mayfield and Beauman on the “just get it done” option.

Our neighbors affected by the flood are hurting. Having their streets and sidewalks littered with obvious health hazards only exacerbates that pain.

Seeing those trucks roll is a bit of solace — and better than waiting weeks for a solution.