The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

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Tornado Outbreak 2011

July 10, 2011

Bentley requests extension on federal debris removal

— From staff, wire reports

Debris removal is continuing to progress in Limestone County and statewide, but the county may soon see its cost-share rise.

As part of Operation Clean Sweep, 90 percent of debris costs would be picked up by the federal government, with the state and counties splitting the remaining 10 percent. After July 12, however, the percentage will increase to a 75 percent federal cost-share, with the state and county splitting the remaining 25 percent.

OCS applies only to areas that received extensive or catastrophic damage as determined by a federal coordinating officer in conjunction with satellite imagery. Areas that fall outside the OCS grid already have a 75 percent federal cost-share, with the state and county splitting the remainder.

About 10 million cubic yards of debris was deposited across 10 percent of the state, according to a press release.

To help offset state and county costs, Gov. Robert Bentley on Wednesday requested a 60-day extension of the current cost-share plan.

“While great progress has been made to clean up the debris from the April tornado outbreak, there is still much work left to be done,” Bentley said in a press release.

County Engineer Richard Sanders said 95,000 cubic yards of debris had been picked up as of Thursday. He said there would be debris to be cleared after the July 12 mark, and an extension of the current cost-share would certainly help.

Sanders said he’s been working with Limestone EMA Director Rita White on establishing a cutoff date for right-of-way debris removal, but no date has been set.

Private property debris removal is also under way, he said, and about 134 right-of-entry applications have been received. However storm victims who live outside the OCS grid won’t be eligible for private property debris removal.

Applications for private property debris removal can still be picked up at the County Commission office at the Washington Street Courthouse Annex.

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