County to aid in final phase of debris removal

Following the Jan. 21 tornado, which affected many parts of both Hattiesburg and Petal, the Forrest County Road Department did its part throughout the county to help pick up storm debris, including the City of Petal. But after a couple of weeks, Petal sent word they did not require any more assistance.

During Monday’s meeting of the Forrest County Board of Supervisors, the board gave the nod for President David Hogan to execute an invoice from the road department to Petal in the amount of $46,269.26, for the pickup and disposal of the storm debris.

But before the end of the meeting, Board Attorney David Miller received a request from Petal Mayor Hal Marx requesting assistance in debris pickup, which proved perplexing for board members.

Marx explains that immediately after the storm, the City of Petal requested help from Forrest County for debris cleanup until officials were able to hire a contractor. The contractor is finishing up with the major debris cleanup and will be released from the contract.

"We have requested that Forrest County provide us assistance in completing the cleanup process, which will consist of clearing some of the ditches in affected areas and dressing up the rights of way along streets hit by the tornado," said Marx. "City of Petal crews will also be doing this work. We appreciate the county's assistance in order to speed up the process."

So far, more than 130,000 cubic yards of debris have been removed in Petal.

"We are asking that people get as much remaining debris as possible to the street by Monday morning, when our contractor will begin the final pass through the impacted neighborhoods," Marx said.

Once the contractor completes that pass, they will be released from their contract. Then, Marx said the county will aid Petal in completing the debris removal process during the next several weeks.