Brownstown seeks assistance in cleaning up after ice storm



Debris can still be found around Brownstown from a mid-November ice storm.

Soon, the town and its residents may receive some help with the cleanup effort.

Debbie Hackman, director of the Jackson County Recycling District, said her organization bought a grapple truck for the Jackson County Highway Department and Seymour Department of Public Works to use, and there’s an agreement that it could be used to help other communities when needed.

The one for the county recently went back in service after being out for a month following an accident, while Seymour has battled with the holidays and the loss of an operator. Both are now trying to catch up on cleanup.

Hackman told the Brownstown Town Council during a recent meeting she had talked with town employee Phil Owens and Clerk-Treasurer David Willey about hiring a company to help with cleanup.

“The yard waste is part of what our responsibilities are, and I’m a one-person entity, so you won’t see me out there with a chainsaw, but I can help financially if you choose to go with a company that is going to help you do that,” she said.

Schwabisch Tree Service of Brownstown has offered its services for $125 per hour. Willey said the town has had that company cut down trees in the past.

Hackman said the Jackson County Solid Waste Management District, which does business as the Jackson County Recycling District, may be able to contribute a 50 percent match toward the cost of the cleanup.

Travis Thompson, filling in for town attorney Rodney Farrow, said the town could go before the district’s seven-member board in January and submit a claim.

“There could be a request made that they would have to approve at their next meeting, but under past circumstances, they have always been willing to help,” Thompson said.

Council President Sally Lawson said she would like to get Street Superintendent Dale Shelton’s opinion to see where he is at in the cleanup effort and if he needs help.

“They are overwhelmed,” Willey said of the street department workers. “People have been calling daily wanting to know when we’re going to get the debris picked up.”

Lawson said the town will contact Schwabisch to see when it would be available to do cleanup, and then residents would be notified so they can gather their debris to be picked up.

Councilwoman Sharon Koch said there needs to be guidelines of what residents can have picked up.

“Your offer is very nice. Thank you very much for that,” Koch said to Hackman. “I’m sure we’ll take advantage of it, but I do think we need some guidelines. We might need to tell our residents you can’t put a whole tree out there and expect us to pick it up. There are companies they can hire to come take care of it. As a town, we can’t take on everything.”

Koch made a motion to approve an outside company to help with the cleanup and seek financial support of the solid waste management district. That was seconded and unanimously approved.

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