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The Paris City Council awarded a contract Monday night to an Alabama company that said it can remove the storm debris from the city’s streets in three weeks.
Twenty-two companies submitted bids Friday for the contract. TNT Disaster Services, based in a suburb of Mobile, Ala., submitted the low bid.
City Manager John Godwin said the winning bidder has good credentials.
“They’re a very large company that has extensive equipment, has extensive experience. They’ve worked hurricanes, and ice storms and fires and tornadoes and earthquakes and wars and famine and i don’t know what all,” Godwin said.
Tara Painter, owner of the company, met with Godwin earlier in the day on Monday and is expected to put her company’s equipment and manpower to work as early as Wednesday, following today’s expected signing of the contract.
“I anticipate spacing 10 to 15 trucks throughout the city, and the reason for that is just from my experience, you want to show presence everywhere,” Painter told the council Monday night.
“You don’t want presence just in one district, because you’ll have everybody in the other parts of town saying, ‘Why are you cleaning them up and not us?’ So we try to spread our forces in the four corners of the town, and in the central working toward one another,” she said.
The city manager estimated there are 60,000 cubic yards of storm debris sitting curbside throughout Paris. That’s even after city crews working for several weeks and a Honey Grove contractor doing almost $50,000 worth of work removing storm debris.
Painter said estimating how much storm damage is out there is a rough estimate at best.
“I’ve driven every street in this town. I believe you are going to come in closer to 45,000 cubic yards. But assuming you do have 60,000 cubic yards — because you’ve still got a lot of debris in back yards that hasn’t been brought to the curb — at my bid price it will cost you $205,800,” she said.
If it turns out to be 45,000 cubic yards, at $3.43 per cubic yard, the contract would cost the city $154,350.
The second-lowest bid was $3.96 per cubic yard by DRC Emergency Services. If it were to do the work, the contract would cost $178,200 for 45,000 cubic yards of storm debris removed, or $237,600 for 60,000 cubic yards.
“Once it’s at the landfill, you can do a measurement on it, and you get real close. But out in the field, it’s not going to get real close,” she said.
Mayor AJ Hashmi asked the company’s estimate “of the time frame that we can see the city clearn.”
“That’s at your direction. I could do it in three days, but here’s what I will tell you. I think three weeks. Three weeks is good for me and good for you,” she said.
“I can change that and do it quicker, but there are a couple of reasons not to do that. One, if you flood the city with trucks, they will sit at the dump for two hours, so you’re defeating your purpose,” she said.
“Two, I promise you, it doesn’t matter how many times you tell residents to bring their debris to the right-of-way. you can use flashing signs, you can do it on TV, but I promise you, the day I leave there will still be more debris,” she said.
“We could clean it up real quick and then I’m going to leave a truck or two just to help your guys because it’s still going to keep coming out. “
Godwin said TNT Disaster Services put in its packet of information that it likely “would take three times through the town to get it all.”
Godwin added: “That was also the experience from some of our guys that were here back in 2000 during that ice storm, that it took three tries.”
District 6 Councilwoman Cleonne Drake asked when the company could get started.
“We’re really looking forward to getting them out here Wednesday morning and going crazy getting the town cleaned up,” Godwin said.
“And we’re really looking forward to our parks and streets people doing parks and streets Wednesday morning instead of handling brush,” the manager said, noting that the city has been doing the work by putting employees to work from other departments.
“Yes, spring is approaching,” Drake said.
Hashmi asked if it would be less expensive to the city for workers to chip the limbs and other storm debris before hauling it away, since there would be more actual debris in a cubic yard that way.
“I have the equipment to do that, but it would cost you more and it’s a much slower process,” she said. “By Christmas, you’d still be waiting,” Painter said.
Also, she said, it would disqualify the city from reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA).
“As far as grinding and mulching, we are doing a lot of that already,” Godwin said.
The manager said a free drop-off site behind the sports complex near Love Civic Center will be kept open only through Saturday, Feb. 1.
“Beginning Saturday, the public will be going to our compost site, which is on Southwest Seventh Street. That way, we’ll get rid of the fires. We’ll quit burning. We’ll start mulching it all at the compost site rather than burning it any more.”
Richard Grossnickle made the motion to hire TNT Disaster Services, Drake provided the second, and the motion carried 6-0 (District 5 Councilman Matt Frierson was absent). At Godwin’s request, the motion included to allow the city to go to the second lowest bidder if the contract with TNT services were to fall through, for whatever reason.
“I just don’t want something to go wrong and we have to come back before the council in two weeks or four weeks and start all over again. We want to make this process as speedy as possible,” the city manager said.
By Charles Richards, eParisExtra