“We dodged a bullet. We’re lucky that no lives were lost,” McComb Mayor Quordiniah Lockley said of what has now been confirmed as a tornado last Thursday.

With a lot of cleanup to do in the Indian Reservation and Edgewood neighborhoods, as well as elsewhere, “we have a task ahead of us,” he added Tuesday night at the city board meeting.

To help with that task, Lockley recommended a task order with Neel-Schaffer subsidiary True North to serve as project administrator for storm recovery and monitor the collection and disposal of storm debris.

Keith Lott, project manager for Neel-Schaffer’s McComb office, said True North’s services could help “ensure reimbursement,” if the city is deemed eligible, from the state and federal emergency management agencies.

“There’s a lot of red tape,” Lott said.

Lockley and Lott said there has to be more than $150,000 in damage and debris estimates for the city to qualify for reimbursement from the state on debris pickup labor and equipment, and more than $4.5 million in damage and debris estimates across the state for the state to qualify for federal reimbursement.

City board members unanimously approved the task order.

The mayor also urged storm victims to place debris for removal between sidewalks and streets, or near the curb and no more than 10 feet from the street where there are no sidewalks.

Under FEMA guidelines, debris should be separated into the following categories:

• Electronics — Televisions, computers, stereos, phones, etc.

• Large appliances — Refrigerators, washers, dryers, air conditioners, stoves, water heaters, etc.

• Hazardous waste — oil, batteries, pesticides, paint, cleaning supplies, compressed gas, etc.

• Vegetative debris — Tree branches, leaves, logs, plants.

• Construction debris — Building materials, drywall, lumber, carpet, furniture, plumbing, etc.

• Household garbage.

Lockley warned that city crews or crews contracted by True North will not pick up debris where property owners hire their own contractors.

“Most contractors here are aware of our ordinances and know they are responsible for hauling away that debris,” Lockley said.

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