City puts pre-storm debris contracts, plans in place

The City of Biloxi, as part of its annual storm preparations, on Tuesday approved four contracts to deal with any debris resulting from storms in the 2009 hurricane season, which begins June 1.

The contracts, which would be funded by FEMA if activated, would cover the monitoring of debris operations, clearing of major thoroughfares in the first 70 hours after a storm, removal of debris from rights of way and care of any debris containing asbestos.

“This policy of having contracts in place before the storm season is something that we actually started before Hurricane Katrina,” said Mayor A.J. Holloway. “By having it all in place on the front end, we’re able to get FEMA approval in advance and hit the ground immediately in the wake of a storm.”

Another facet of the plan, business-interruption insurance, is already in place.

And on Thursday Holloway is meeting with city department and division heads for an annual review of storm plans and preparations for individual departments. Representatives of the casino industry, the city’s largest private employers, will meet with the city in a few weeks.

Holloway also suggested that property owners begin making their own preparations for the storm season.

“Everyone — families and businesses, large or small — should have a working storm plan that they update every year before storm season,” the mayor said. “Have as many things in place beforehand and you won’t be rushing around at the last-minute to deal with issues that you could have dealt with earlier.”

The City Council, acting on requests from Holloway, on Tuesday approved contracts for Neel-Schaffer for debris monitoring services; Storm Reconstruction Services for the so-called “push contract,” which involves clearing of streets for emergency vehicles in the initial hours after a storm; Crowder Gulf Joint Venture for debris removal from rights-of-way; and Earth Consulting Group for asbestos supervision of debris removal.

“All of these firms are ones we’ve worked with successfully in the past,” Holloway said, “and it should give our residents some comfort in knowing that we’re doing the things that we need to be doing to be ready. I encourage them to do the same.”

More online

Prepare yourself:
For tips on how you can prepare your family for storm season, click here.

Flood zone:
To see the flood-zones in the city of Biloxi, which were officially enlarged as of May 1, and to read background on flood zones, click here. And if you live in a flood zone, there are special precautions that you should be aware of. To read about them, click here.

Flood insurance:
Learn about the benefits of flood insurance by clicking here.