A Louisiana company got the bid to remove debris caused by the Easter tornadoes that struck Jones County, the Board of Supervisors announced in a special meeting Wednesday afternoon.
Ceres Environmental, with offices in Houma, La. and Minnesota, was the winner among four companies that were deemed finalists by a committee. The finalists went through 30-minute interviews with the committee before a final decision was made.
Only one point separated Ceres from Columbia-based Looks Great Services, said committee spokesman Charles Miller, who is Chief Financial Officer of the county. The other finalists were KDF Enterprises of Springville, Ala. and Floore Independent Contractors of Moss Point.
The estimated cost of the removal is based on the cubic yards of debris. The cost of the job will be in the $3 million-$4 million range, Miller said. Since it was declared a federal disaster, FEMA will reimburse 75 percent of the expenses and the state is also expected to chip in some assistance, too.
“It came down to dollar bills,” board President Johnny Burnett said. “We had to use what was most reasonable.”
The debris will be dumped at a site that has yet to be determined, pending approval by the state Department of Environmental Quality. A representative of that agency was expected to check sites today (Thursday). Work to remove debris should begin Monday, supervisors said.
“Be patient, we will get it picked up,” Supervisor Larry Dykes said.
The removal will be a process in which the pickup is done in stages, in “three passes,” Dykes said. The Mississippi Department of Transportation will pick up debris along state highways. Large piles of debris line Highways 28, 29, 84 and 533.
More than a dozen companies submitted proposals for the job to dispose of the debris.
A five-man committee selected the winning contractor — Supervisors Phil Dickerson and David Scruggs, Jones County Emergency Management Agency Director Paul Sheffield, local businessman Larry Loftin and Miller. Picayune-based DebrisTech is serving as monitor and its founder, Brooks Wallace, served as an adviser to the committee.
Debris pickup is expected to begin 48-72 hours after the site is approved.
The tornadoes struck more than 350 homes and businesses in Jones County and the area was declared a federal disaster.