Ashbritt Inc. takes some responsibility for debris removal delay
MARCO ISLAND, Fla. The chairman of Ashbritt Inc., the debris pick up company currently under state investigation, addressed the Marco Island City Council today on why there is a delay in storm debris collection.
Chairman Randy Perkins took some responsibility for the collection delay, which is part of the reason why Ashbritt Inc. is under state investigation.
It has been one month since Hurricane Irma has hit Marco Island. Two weeks after, Ashbritt Inc. started cleaning up debris.
“It’s really, really dreadful,” Marco Island resident Pat Windle said. “You can’t imagine how high this stuff is piled.”
Perkins told city council the company already collected about a sixth of the 300 thousand cubic yards of debris on the island. That’s enough debris to fill more than 90 Olympic swimming pools.
Perkins also told city council that Ashbritt Inc. plans on bringing in more trucks.
“There’s been nothing done on our block for almost five weeks,” Marco Island resident Mark Murlowski said. “I’ve seen one truck.”
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is currently investigating Ashbritt Inc. and two other debris companies in early October. The state is investigating price gouging and delays.
Some residents say they would ask the chairman to release the contract, so everything is transparent.
“I would ask that he let the people living here see the contract,” Marco Island resident Ron Rutledge said. “So we could decide whether or not they were living up the the contracts we signed.”
Perkins claims there were many issues that pushed the start date back.
“We didn’t get started for about 12 days afterwards because there were a lot of other issues in the county with lift stations and back trucks, and temporary disposal sites we pre-identified were under water,” Perkins said.
The company has plans on getting most, if not all, of the debris picked up by Thanksgiving. But, any residents aren’t buying it.
“I’m hoping that they will because that’s about six weeks away and I think they should have it done by then,” Windle said. “If they don’t, I’ll be very disappointed.”
Many residents on the island say the debris remains one of the most prominent reminders of Hurricane Irma. Some even say it is still shocking to see it covering the sides of the streets because it is presenting health and safety hazards.
Perkins explained that piles that mixed with trees and house debris will still get picked up, separated or not.
According to Perkins, Ashbritt Inc. also plans on leaving a couple trucks behind after Thanksgiving to make sure everything has been collected.