Bay County leaders set March 11th deadline for debris hauling

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Four months later and people in Bay County are still getting rid of debris from Hurricane Michael. Bay County leaders set March 11 as the last call for debris removal for parts of the county but some say that's easier said than done.

During a press conference Tuesday, city and county leaders announced March 11 as their last day of debris hauling. Commissioners set the deadline for Springfield, Callaway, and unincorporated Bay County.

"We have a problem with illegal dumping. We're continuing to see people drag stuff out of their houses that's probably not storm-related. We have to set a date, otherwise, we will never get this place cleaned up," said Bay County Commissioner Philip "Griff" Griffitts.

Griffitts said when all is said and done, about $200 million will be spent on debris removal for unincorporated Bay County. He said they've already picked up seven million cubic yards of debris.

"If they have a substantiated circumstance we'll obviously work with them but we believe most of the folks by this time should get the debris out to the right of way where we can continue to haul it off," said Griffitts.

Griffitts said after the deadline passes, Code Enforcement will handle debris removal on a case-by-case basis.

"I'm out there every day trying to pick up trash blown into my yard. We're really doing the best that we can," said Bay County resident Teresa Peterson.

Some in Bay County said they're still waiting on FEMA, insurance companies, and contractors to help them and believe they won't have everything picked up in time.

"I drive past this on the way to work and I just don't think that there is any way it's ever gonna be picked up at that time," said Peterson.

Many other cities are still considering aligning with Bay County's deadline. Mexico Beach City Manager Tanya Castro said the city intends to adopt Bay County's deadline.

Castro says their deadline to request debris removal from uninsured private property is February 15. Their deadline to request demolition of a structure on uninsured private property is February 22.

Castro says they cannot pick up construction debris.

Lynn Haven's deadline is February 17. All other residents should check with their local cities for their deadlines.