Hall County crews continue to respond to storm-related issues across the community following the effects of Tropical Storm Irma earlier this week, including answering questions regarding storm clean-up and where citizens without power can go to seek shelter.
Hall County Parks & Leisure Director Mike Little announced Thursday that Hall County’s three community centers are available for citizens to plug in their devices and take a hot shower.
“I know the Hall County School System has made a similar offer, and we’re excited to open our doors to members of the public who have similar needs,” he said.
Little said anyone coming to a community center will need to bring their own towel and necessary toiletries.
The County’s three community centers opened their doors for the first time in more than two days Thursday morning after losing power due to the storm late Monday.
Between noon on Monday and 8 a.m. Wednesday, Hall County’s 911 Center fielded 292 calls regarding power lines being down and 842 calls to report a fallen tree. In total, the center’s call volume during that same period of time was 3,196 storm-related calls. That’s in comparison to the approximately 1,100 calls the center fields on a typical day.
Hall County officials said a number of recent calls have been in regard to clearing storm debris on private property. The following information has been gathered to aid the public in their clean-up efforts:
- Hall County does not pick up fallen limbs, trees or any other type of storm debris on private property. The County will clear debris that has fallen on the right-of-way; however, County crews will not pick-up any debris that appears to have been put on the right-of-way by a citizen.
- You can use a private contractor to clear your property and dispose of the debris. Hall County’s Business License Department offers the following tips for hiring a professional, licensed contractor for this type of job:
- Make certain the contractor you hire has a business license. Any current, valid business license issued from any location in Georgia is valid in Hall County. Businesses from out of state must register with Hall County’s Business License Department before they are eligible to work in the area.
- Citizens are encouraged to get references. Do your homework to make certain these people will give you what you pay for.
- Legal door-to-door solicitation requires the solicitor to carry an identification badge with them at all times, which is issued by Hall County Government – ask for it.
- Make certain the contractor you hire is bonded and/or has insurance.
- Do not pay in advance.
- If you have any question regarding the hiring of a contractor to remove storm debris, call the Hall County Business License Department at 770-531-6815.
- If you clear your own property, you must wait until the state-mandated burn ban is lifted on Oct. 1 to burn the debris.
- The Hall County Landfill and compactor sites will not accept any type of vegetation that fell as a result of the storm as those facilities are not permitted to process that type of waste. However, the landfill and compactor sites will accept any food or other items that may have spoiled during the widespread power outages that affected our area. The landfill can take non-vegetative debris that may have littered your property during the storm such as lumber and roofing. Although the Hall County Landfill does not accept vegetation that fell as a result of the storm, several Hall County businesses do provide that service. They are Crystal Creek Inert Landfill (770-534-5214) and Gainesville Waste and Recycling (678-696-2080).
- The majority of fallen trees that have yet to be removed by County crews involve power lines. County crews cannot remove trees or other storm debris that is entangled in active power lines until the power crew has addressed the issue.
“All of our resources are currently dedicated to post-storm clean up,” said Hall County Road Maintenance Director Jimmy Hightower. “Our crews are working 12-hour days, six days a week, and we’re holding off our mowing operations and suspending general maintenance until we get this mess cleaned up.”
Hall County Emergency Management Agency Director David Kimbrell said while there is a massive clean-up effort underway, the County is lucky to not be dealing with a much more tragic result.
“We have been very fortunate,” he said. “There’s been no deaths reported, no major injuries.”
As a reminder, Hall County Government is in the process of assessing the storm’s damage in order to apply for financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). As a part of that process, the County could be approved to serve as a FEMA Disaster Assistance Center, which would provide financial aid to homeowners to assist with their clean-up efforts. To find out if and when Hall County is approved for that designation, text the word "hallcounty" to 888777.
Citizens can also call the Hall County Emergency Operations Call Center at 770-718-3300 to report fallen trees and down power lines.