Panama City News Herald: Bay County private property Hurricane Michael debris removal deadline Fri
BAY COUNTY — Private property owners in unincorporated Bay County have through Friday to get assistance removing Hurricane Michael debris.
Bay County is set to stop accepting applications for its private property debris removal program at 5 p.m. on Friday. The deadline comes after county officials extended the popular, federally-funded program in June.
According to the county, since April, 865 applicants have registered for the program for debris removal, building demolition or both. To date, 80 properties have been preliminarily reviewed and await final approval, said Kathi Ashman, division manager of county code enforcement.
“We’re hoping that this program will assist Bay County residents who may not otherwise be able to get help in removing dangers from their property,” Ashman said.
The county decided to extend the program in late June because of its popularity and to help more residents if possible.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency administers the program, which is managed on behalf of the county by Tetratech, a subcontractor. Once an application is submitted, Tetratech performs a site survey to determine the property’s eligibility and, if all requirements are met, the application is submitted to FEMA for its review.
Eligible for removal is debris caused by the hurricane, like hazardous limbs, trees and stumps near a commonly used area or maintained space of a property. The demolition and debris removal of a structure that is considered unsafe under county code could also be eligible for the program.
Debris removal from vacant lots, unimproved property and unused or unmaintained areas of a property are ineligible for the program. Also not eligible is debris on agricultural lands used for crops or livestock.
Participants in the program are required to sign a right-of-entry form that grants the county and its contractors access to the property for inspecting, removing and clearing eligible storm-generated debris. Participants must also sign a hold harmless agreement, which releases the county and others of liability from work done during the program.
Residents who have homeowner insurance might be eligible for the program, but FEMA could require specific documentation to avoid duplication of benefits.