Homeowner asking City for help in clearing debris caused by Hurricane Isabel

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 20, 2004

Editor, the News-Herald:

My wife, Janice, and I moved to Suffolk about 18 years ago just about the time our daughter Claire was born. We have enjoyed the benefits and joys of rural life and feel lucky to have kindled such wonderful friendships within the community.

My issue is with the City of Suffolk and the lack of response to my problem of storm debris pickup. Hurricane Isabel dealt us all a very severe blow, some worse than others. For several weeks after the storm, friends came over and helped us and we in turn helped our neighbors remove limbs and storm debris to free up public right of ways. I didn’t even know some of these people but it just seemed like the right thing to do.

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Before the storm hit I had never called for a pick-up nor put anything curbside that our weekly trash removal service could not handle. I have hauled all large items and debris to the Public Service Authority myself for 18 years. My family and friends have exhausted themselves cutting our tree limbs into six-foot sections and putting them into manageable piles only to be told that the city is no longer picking up storm debris. It seems the statute of limitations has run out, and I am required to have a commercial hauler remove my debris.

I have tried talking to the fire department and was told that I could burn a four-foot by four-foot pile. At that rate I might be done by the time my high schoolers graduate from college.

Many others share my concern. I have traveled several of the back roads and talked to various disgruntled residents all feel neglected by the lack of response to this problem. I have documented with my camera piles of debris throughout Suffolk, you folks know who you are.

I respectfully request that the city dedicate one more month for the removal of debris from the hurricane. I know it is a financial issue. Maybe we could allocate $200 from each of the 480 some odd city budgets and use the $96,000 to finish the job. My figures are fictitious, but hopefully the point is understood.

My apologies to my friends and neighbors who have to travel by the front of my property and see the unsightly negligence. Better yet, write your councilman and invite him out to tour our byways. When the taxman comes to collect his due I hope he brings his trailer.

Ted Leonard

King’s Fork Road