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Dispose of storm debris responsibly

PENDER COUNTY – Due to the limited geographic impacts from Hurricane Isaias, Pender County is not conducting curbside collection of storm-related debris. Damage assessment has been completed and determined that areas of eastern Pender County sustained the most concentrated damage related to vegetative debris. Despite this damage, the decision to incur the cost related to conducting a countywide debris collection must be based on impact experienced throughout the 900 square miles that exists in Pender County.

“Generally, in the past, this has been a North Carolina Department of Transportation function,” said George Brown, Pender County Board of County Commissioners Chairman. “Pender County has, in the past, participated in county-wide debris collection programs with NCDOT after significant storms such as Hurricane Mathew or Florence which caused devastation throughout the county.”

Ultimately the decision to pick up debris countywide must be evaluated from a financial capacity standpoint. The debris operation conducted by Pender County following Hurricane Florence cost $16,674,666. The majority of this expense has not been reimbursed by FEMA nearly two years after the storm. Put in simplistic terms, the unbudgeted expenses incurred related to debris collection following Florence was roughly equivalent to 25 percent of the total general fund budget for fiscal year 2020 and more than the entire Public Safety and Department of Social Services budget combined.

Brown said Pender County’s decision to not collect curbside debris is similar to decisions by most other counties in the Southeastern North Carolina region.

“We urge residents to dispose of leaves, branches, pine straw responsibly,” said Brown.

A state and locally permitted company, Branch and Brush Debris Depot, located at 21435 US Hwy 17, in Hampstead will accept vegetative debris. For more information regarding cost and operating hours, call Branch and Brush Debris Depot at 910-581-1719.

There is no burning ban in Pender County. The Forestry Service authorizes burning permits and guidelines. The information is available online at Property owners are encouraged to check with their homeowners and property associations for restrictions of burning debris.
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