Biloxi to begin debris removal efforts

Biloxi residents are being encouraged to move storm debris to the curbside to be picked up by the city’s storm debris contractor.

Mayor A.J. Holloway is notifying FEMA and MEMA that the city plans to have Crowder-Gulf, its storm debris contractor, begin removing debris from public rights of way next week. The contractor will not work on private property.

Residents should move debris to the curbside, but avoid blocking traffic or neighboring driveways, and making sure not to place it near fire hydrants, gas meters, utility poles or guy wires.

Crowder Gulf will remove storm debris only.

”Our contractor is already working to remove storm debris from our harbors, and we expect to have them in neighborhoods next week,” Holloway said. “We’re going to go as quickly as we can, but we’re asking residents to do their part this weekend, and move the debris to the curbside.”

Residents are reminded that Advanced Disposal, the firm contracted to pick up household garbage, will not pick up tires, hazardous materials; or any freezers, refrigerators or air conditioners that have not been tagged by a certified firm, ensuring that Freon has been removed. Advanced Disposal will remove only material that has been either bagged, or limbs that are no larger than 8 inches in diameter and no more than 3 or 4 feet in length.

As part of its storm plan, Biloxi had four approved contracts already in place when Hurricane Gustav made landfall Monday: a 70-hour push contract with Storm Reconstruction Services, a Mobile firm that would have cleared debris from major roadways in the first 70 hours after a storm; with Crowder Gulf, for debris removal; with Earth Consulting Group, the firm that would oversee compliance with MDEQ rules for dealing with debris containing asbestos; and with Neel-Schaffer, for monitoring of the city’s debris removal efforts.

The federal government typically reimburses local governments 75 percent of the expense of storm-debris removal, but as a result of having approved contracts in place before the storm, the city hopes to earn an additional 5 percent reimbursement, with the remaining 20 percent expense shared by the city and state.

Gustav photos online

—To see photos taken this morning of the damage and debris at Point Cadet Marina, the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor and the Commercial Harbor, click here.

—Photos taken as Gustav came ashore — plus photos and video shot before, during and after Katrina — are in the city’s online photo and video gallery. To go there,
click here.

Council scheduled to vote on re-zoning, budget

Members of the City Council will meet Tuesday morning at 10:30 to discuss the FY ’09 municipal budget and again at 1:30, when they are scheduled to vote on the budget as well as consider a measure that would re-zone nearly 60 acres of land for casino gaming and other uses.

As part of the 1:30 meeting, council members will conduct a public hearing to gather comments from residents regarding the proposed re-zoning of land in east Biloxi.

The proposed new city budget includes pay increases for full-time city employees, an increase in the longevity pay rate, and no increase in the city property tax rate.

To see the complete agenda for both meetings, as well as available resolutions,
click here.

News and notes

Football game: Biloxi High School has announced that its game with Moss Point, scheduled for this evening at Biloxi High stadium, has been postponed to Saturday at 7:30 p.m. For details, click here.

Weekend lineup: For a look at the weekend’s entertainment lineup, courtesy of listings from the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau, click here.

See more: For information on hotels and other amenities, including a video tour and invitation, click here.