City seeking ROEs for standing dead trees in surge areas

The City of Biloxi, which has moved enough storm debris to cover a football field with a pile standing more than 133 stories high, is focusing its efforts on removing standing dead trees in the storm-surge area.

And residents whose homes were flooded by Hurricane Katrina can help by turning in a completed tree-removal right-of-entry form at the Community Development Department on MLK Boulevard in downtown Biloxi.

The city has already cut and removed 570 standing dead trees since Sept. 20, when FEMA authorized cutting standing dead trees in the storm areas, and the agency has given its initial approval, or “pre-validating,” for the city to remove another 1,679 standing dead trees in the surge area of Biloxi.

However, not all property owners have signed tree-removal ROEs to allow the city to enter the property.

Says city debris-removal coordinator Jonathan Kiser: “If your home was flooded by Katrina and you have not signed an ROE since Aug. 28, and have dead trees in the improved areas of your yard — within 125 feet of your house — you should sign one now. The trees may be eligible to be removed under the FEMA program.”

Kiser said FEMA determines eligibility on a case-by-case basis, depending on the threat that the dead tree poses to utilities and structures.

An ROE tree-removal form is available in the Forms/Permits section of the city web site. To print a form, click here. The Community Development Department is open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Biloxian advances in Punt, Pass & Kick competition

Nine-year-old Biloxian Brittany Snyder, who participated in the city’s Punt, Pass and Kick competitions in September and November, will compete in the team competition Sunday morning, before that afternoon’s Saints-Redskins game.

Snyder is daughter of Bob and Diane Snyder and a student at Popp’s Ferry Elementary School.

News and notes

Beck Park: Christmas at Beck Park, with a tree-decorating, hot chocolate and a visit by Santa, begins tonight at 6 at Beck Park, which is on Division Street in east Biloxi.

Fresh figures: The Katrina stats package on the city web site now has updated numbers for debris removal and building permits. To go there, click here.