ROWLAND — Public Works employees have hauled more than 11,000 cubic yards of tree debris from Rowland in the weeks since Hurricane Matthew but more is ahead as there are some fallen trees too large for town workers to handle.
“That’s over 500 truck loads. Our fellows have put in 110 hours in the last two weeks,” Town Clerk David Townsend told the Rowland Board of Commissioners on Tuesday. “It’s good for the town to use its own people because it’s keeping the jobs local. Also, our guys know where our water and sewer system is. If you get a lot of contractors in here — a lot of times they are not as careful about the utilities.”
Nevertheless, Townsend told commissioners that the town will advertise for bids from contractors to remove the debris that local crews can’t.
“There are trees that are just too big for us to handle them,” Townsend said.
They are primarily old-growth hardwoods that stood in ground already saturated when high winds from Hurricane Matthew came.
“We had 16 inches of rain in Rowland so we probably had eight inches of rain before the wind kicked up. The ground was saturated and the trees turned over,” Townsend said.
The town has received approval for a temporary debris storage area. Townsend said a grinder will turn the wood into mulch.
The commissioners also gave Townsend and the town’s finance director, Faye Carlisle, authority to sign necessary papers that deal with FEMA’s help to the town. Any contracts still must go before the commission, Townsend said.
Townsend also told the commission that the town of Knightdale sent crews to help with the cleanup at no charge. He will prepare a resolution of thanks for commissioners to adopt and sign.
Reach Terri Ferguson Smith at 910-416-5865.