Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Debris at Record Volume, Resident's Not Advised of Extended Pickups, Thousands Squandered on Ad

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – As a result of Hurricane Irma, communities all over Florida are struggling with record storm debris. On Thursday night, October 5, the County 5 (minus the absent Commissioner DePratter), voted to extend County debris pickups through next Friday. In addition to voting to spend thousands on a needless Sunday advertisement in the County's mainstream media, County Manger Ben Scott said notice of the extended pickups would be on the County website and the County Emergency Management website. He didn't say when. As of 5:30 am Saturday morning, a day and a half after The 5 met, the County websites have not a word about the special extended pickups.

Thursday Night At the County 5

Two and a half hours into the meeting the County 5 addressed debris pickup after Hurricane Irma.

Assistant County Manager and Public Works Director, Kevin Kirby told The 5 that storm debris was at record volumes.

After hearing a short presentation by Mr. Kirby, Commissioner Sylvester "Bucky" Nash made a motion to extend debris pickup one week, until October 13.

Commissioner Tim Murphy, the darling of the Republican Party and the County's mainstream media, asked County Manager Scott how the public was going to be advised that the pickups were extended.

County Manager Ben Scott

County Manager Scott explained, "We put it in the newspaper; put it on our website; put itC on Emergency Management website; that's about the best we could do."

Long time Commissioner Ronald Williams addressed Lake City Reporter Editor Robert Bridges, who was in the audience, "Didn't the last time we went through this the County took out an ad?"

Mr. Bridges answered, "I don't recall."

County Manager Scott added, "This will be on the radio, too."

Robert Bridges:
"It will be on the front page of the Sunday paper, automatically."

Mr. Bridges followed up, "This is a significant news story. It will be on the front page of the Sunday paper automatically. People who read our paper -- they'll know about it."

County Manager Scott said, "If by next Friday, if they don't have their work order in then we know that they didn't call it in." He said residents will be advised that they can call WastePro, the County carter, after that.

Commissioner Williams said that it might be two weeks before Public Works picked up the debris.

"We're going to verify"

Mr. Kirby told The 5 [as spoken], "We're going to verify. When they call that work order in, that it's there [the debris]. The thought process -- everybody in -- takes us next Friday at 4:30 that we're going to get it out there by next Sunday -- we're gonna' try to get around that. I've experienced this before."

Mr. Murphy asked, "Are we missin' somethin' here Kevin?"

Mr. Kirby explained, "Yes sir. Back the last time we get a cutoff. We were inundated with calls the day of the cutoff. Folks called a potential work order in. The material didn't exist on the highway. I got smart last time. We went around and verified, 'There's a load here.' There's a lot of folks missleadin' us a little bit."

Commissioner Everett Phillips asked, "You're gonna' go check all of that stuff and verify the work order?"

Mr. Kirby answered, "Correct. Next Saturday we'll verify everything that's left that we have recorded."

Commissioner Murphy: Taking Care of His Friends

Mr. Murphy asked, "Should we spend the money and do a full page (color ad)."

Mr. Kirby quipped, "I recommended two pages."

Commissioner Nash, Commissioner Murphy's uncle, amended his motion to include a full page color ad in the Sunday paper.


As of 5:30 am today, Saturday, October 7, a day and a half after County Manager Scott told The 5 the debris pickup extension would be on the County website and the County Emergency Management website, neither had a word about the debris pickup extension.

The Columbia County 5:  the legend continues.

Coming in Part II: Rum138: Public Outrage

Coming in Part III: Public Works Dir. Kirby Implements Change

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