Houston County debris debacle: resident must pay $1,000 for hurricane debris pickup

Local News

HOUSTON COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — A Houston County man must now find a way to pay for Hurricane Michael debris pickup. 

For the past six months, Richard Swinehart has been clearing his yard of downed limbs and trees — all without professional help.

However, Wednesday morning, a county dump truck driver told Swinehart’s wife that they will have to begin paying for the county to pick up their roadside debris and that it will come with a thousand dollar price tag. 

“He said we’re done picking up for free,” Richard Swinehart said. “He said we’ve got other things to do so if you want us to pick it up, there will be a charge.”

According to Houston County, although there will be a price to pay for debris pick up, there are options to help residents foot the bill.

“He could work something out to pick up part of it and pay whatever one small truck or one small dump truck load would be,” District 2 Commissioner Doug Sinquefield said. 

Sinquefield also said Houston County did notify its residents about the debris pickup deadline. 

“We did put out a public notification,” Sinquefield said. “It was April 3 (when) the county engineer department sent it out.”

Although he didn’t see the notice, Swinehart said it would not have made a difference.

“(I) couldn’t do any different,” Swinehart said. “I’m just trying to get it in piles and get it taken care of. It’s just a slow process when you’re by yourself.”

According to Swinehart, county dump trucks pass his house multiple times a day.

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