A job well done on debris cleanup

Published 12:01 am Sunday, August 14, 2011

City of Vicksburg work crews have been mighty busy. And we should all be thankful for that.

Work crews were about to wrap up flood debris removal, less than three months after the Mississippi River crested at a record 57.1 feet on May 19. Final numbers for the amount of debris cleared from city streets will soon be available. The numbers will be staggering. In the first five days after the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen gave the green light for city crews to remove debris, crews had collected and disposed of 144 tons — or 288,000 pounds. City crews began picking up debris on June 27.

The board elected to have city crews clean up the debris on a 2-1 vote with Mayor Paul Winfield voting against the city crew plan in favor of bringing in private firms for flood debris removal.

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North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield, at the time, said bringing in private firms would take too much time, which the city did not have. “This is a public safety issue, and it’s getting worse every day,” Mayfield said in June. “We’ve got problems with mold, snakes, rodents … we’ve got to start getting that debris up today.”

Mayfield made his comments on Friday, June 24, and by the following Monday, crews were on the streets.

They’ve been there since and were expected to finish cleanup this weekend. The Aug. 12 deadline was set by city officials in order for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to process paperwork for reimbursement to the city. Winfield said some debris, if put out on the curb after Aug. 12, would be collected, but added the board should, “have some discussions on that.”

Floods such as the one that slammed this city in May have the power to be devastating, both when rising and in recession. The cleanup became a Herculean effort, but one completed swiftly, completely and professionally.

A job well done.