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Public Works & Assets Newsroom

Mayor Adds Contractors To Speed Debris Collection

Monday March 23, 2009

More crews will soon be collecting storm debris from roadsides across Louisville Metro.

Mayor Jerry Abramson has secured the agreement of FEMA officials to reimburse the city for using private contractors to help clear right-of-ways.

Public Works director Ted Pullen said contractors will focus on about 40 percent of the city’s debris collection grids. About 30 percent of the collection grids are either completed or underway. City crews will collect in the remaining areas.

“After we got assurance from FEMA that the city would be reimbursed for using private contractors to help clear right-of-ways, it made sense to pursue bids,” Pullen said. “Our unions were cooperative in agreeing to split the workload. Using private crews will help us clear streets more quickly and efficiently, and it’s a good deal for taxpayers.”

Bids will open Friday, March 20. Private crews will begin collecting in about a week – as soon as they provide proof of insurance and contracts are signed. Contracts are for sections of unincorporated areas within Louisville Metro.

Small cities have two options for debris collection to ensure FEMA reimbursement. They may contract with a private collector and file for reimbursement directly through FEMA, or they may rely on Louisville Metro crews. FEMA regulations stipulate that small cities must handle private contracts and reimbursement paperwork to qualify for repayment.

Multiple agencies, including Public Works, Solid Waste Management, Metro Parks, MSD, and the Louisville Water Company, have dedicated crews of three to five workers each to curbside debris pickup. Currently, 24 crews are working throughout the city; crews are working 10-hour shifts, six days a week, with the option of working on Sundays.