City looking for outside help on tornado clean up

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- The city of Columbus is looking outside of city limits for help in debris removal.

Multiple contractors are submitting bids but what is it going to cost?

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Cleaning up after a tornado is a monumental task.

Trees limbs, shingles, and wood still litter the streets of Columbus, and now city officials are looking for some extra hands.

But when picking the best fit several things have to be considered.

“One of the things we are looking at is the cost of the bid. What is the cost going to be and the services that the people are going to provide for us? There’s a lot of things that have to go into a bid if somebody comes up with the bid, but they have to have the equipment they have to have the manpower to make sure that gets done in a timely orderly fashion that’s good for the city,” said Bill Gavin.

It’s not going to be cheap, and the initial cost will be coming straight out of the city’s pockets.

“At this point, that’s what we’re right now investigating and looking at how we’re going to pay for the debris removal and the storm. I mean I think people have to realize the city incorporated probably had about nine to ten million dollars worth of damage to the city and FEMA will only pay for 75% of it. 25% of that of that $10 million is a lot of money for the city to come up with we’re looking right now into different avenues on how we can pay for that,” said Gavin.

The city is waiting for a federal declaration, so they can move forward.

Even after that happens, it could still be a while before they see any money.

“That is the great unknown. That’s why we’re trying to make sure we do everything right on the front end, and we’re doing all the documentation right because, at the end of the day, it’s all about the documentation. So that’s where its incumbent upon me and my team to make sure that we are doing that on behalf of the city. To make sure that everything is documented, and everything is tracked, and so we feel like if we do everything right on our end at that point so the cities reimbursement can be better on the back end,” said Jabari O Edwards Sr.

The city leaders approved a bid for a debris monitoring firm but rejected the debris removal bids due to a timing error.

The new bids will be accepted through Monday at 11 and will be presented during the regular council meeting Tuesday evening.

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