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Contractor Bails On Storm Cleanup

Signs of the two most recent storms can still be seen across Kentucky, particularly in one county where state officials contracted out for storm debris removal.

The state hired more than 20 different contractors to work sun-up to sundown through April 16th to get all the storm debris picked up and hauled away, but there's still plenty of debris here in Anderson County, and the contractor is long gone.

"They made these contracts before the contractors actually had the chance to come in and survey how much material was available to pick up. Once the contractors got on site, surveyed the county and saw how much material was available, they just didn't feel like it was cost effective," said Charles O'Neal, the Emergency Management Director in Anderson County.

But O'Neal doesn't fault state government for this mess.

"They did create these contracts at break neck speed compared to what government normally operates at, so I really can't fault the state. They were trying to assist local government, but I do fault the contractors. They should not have entered into the agreement to remove the material until they were certain that they wanted to follow through with the job," O'Neal said.

So what's the next step in Anderson County?

"Obviously, we're going to have to back up and punt at this point in time. It'll take a little longer for us to do the pick-up on the local level. We don't have the trucks and the equipment that the contractors do," O'Neal said.

And a lot of private citizens don't have the necessary trailers and trucks to haul their debris to the designated drop-off and burn locations.

County officials say it could take four to six weeks to complete the cleanup.

A spokesperson for the Transportation Cabinet tells us the vast majority of the contractors are doing exactly what they were hired to do.

FEMA, by the way, will reimburse the state 75% of the clean-up costs.


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