Alissa Scott/ Recorder News Staff- Saturday, signs around the village of Fort Plain showed a July 8 deadline for debris pick up. Adam Schwabrow, director of emergency management, said the last deadline will actually be Wednesday, July 10.
By ALISSA SCOTT
Recorder News Staff
Though LED signs throughout Fort Plain have given residents different deadlines for free debris pick up for homes affected by last week’s flood, Adam Schwabrow, emergency management director, said the last day will be Wednesday, July 10, officially.
Schwabrow said he knows residents have been confused, annoyed and even angered by the deadlines, but residents need to be hasty in removing debris from their homes for several reasons.
The village has not been declared a disaster area by the federal government yet, and the pick up by village municipalities, the dumping of the debris and all the overtime compensation workers have received is really tugging at the village’s purse strings.
As of Sunday, the village has paid $25,000 in tipping fees, charged levies upon the disposal of municipal waste.
“FEMA needs the village to have a deadline,” Schwabrow said. “They won’t pay for the pick up if we don’t set a deadline.”
Schwabrow said the last he heard, the decision from the federal government for disaster declaration could still be two weeks away. As of now, the county and village are still paying for all flood-related costs.
“If they give us the declaration, they’ll pay for it,” Schwabrow said.
The village has posted several dates, the first last week, then July 8. On Monday, the date will be pushed to July 10, but that will be the final date.
The deadline also in part is to promote a proactive clean up effort and discourage procrastinators.
“People like me,” Schwabrow said,” if I didn’t have a deadline for anything in my life, I’d procrastinate right to the last minute.”
Next Wednesday will be nearly two weeks since the Otsquago Creek washed away parts of the village, enough time to have removed all debris, Schwabrow said.
Peter Wilkinson, a volunteer from Schoharie, said he thinks the deadline is “stupid.”
“It’s not enough time,” Wilkinson said. “It’s not going to get done in a week. No one’s going to get a house gutted in that amount of time.”
Wilkinson said he was in Schoharie when it got hit by a flood, brutalizing over 2,500 homes. He said they were given over two months to get rid of all that debris.
Wilkinson has been helping out at Renee Shoemaker’s home on Main Street, which she reported to have at least $100,000 worth of damage. Wilkinson has been tearing out sinks and removing pieces of the sheet rock. He said they will definitely still have debris by the time Wednesday rolls around.
The home is mostly dry at this point, but many others are not. Schwabrow said that is another reason for the deadline -- to uphold the health and safety of the residents.
“If we don’t encourage people to get the stuff out and cleaned up, mold can build up and it becomes a health and safety issue,” Schwabrow said.
Frederick Sherman, of 97 Canal Street, a residence that was erected almost 260 years ago, said he fought the local courts and the governor’s office, insisting they extend the deadline.
“One woman told me, ‘Mr. Sherman, just ignore those signs, someone will be around to pick it up,’” Sherman said. “And then they’re going to want me to pay to dump it? What are they going to do if I don’t get rid of it myself? Leave it there? No. The state will take care of it.
“If I flooded my own house, I would understand. But, how can I be rushed for something I didn’t do?”
Once Thursday comes, residents will be responsible for transporting their debris to the Montgomery-Otsego-Schoharie Solid Waste Management Authority transfer station in Randall, about 10 miles east of Fort Plain. There, they will be charged a fee per ton of waste.
Sherman said with help from volunteers, he’ll be able to have all the debris removed from his house by the deadline.
Will Ryan, husband of pastor of the Reformed Church of Fort Plain Nancy Ryan, said the deadline has caused a panic amongst residents and even worse, volunteer numbers are drastically reducing.
“We still get the individuals who come in,” Will Ryan said, “but we’re missing those big crews.”
Ryan said they will continue dispatching crews from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from the church until Friday.
The National Guard has continued work in Fort Plain. On Saturday, Pfc. Tyler Richardson said members removed large rocks from the creek bed to prevent future flooding.