‘Low Man On The Totem Poll’ Citrus County Finally Cleaning Up Hermine Mess


It’s been over two weeks since Hurricane Hermine made landfall in Big Bend.

Farther down Florida’s Gulf Coast, one county is still knee-deep in the cleanup effort. Citrus County roadways are lined with debris for the roundup that got underway on Monday.

It’s expected to take another two weeks to tackle this job.

“We’re kind of the low man on the totem poll,” Joanne Mills said. The strong winds left trees and branches all over her neighborhood.

Word is trickling out that roadside pickup is beginning.

“As far as the county informing us about pickups, if y’all wouldn’t have come out here today, we still wouldn’t know,” Mills told WUFT News.

County officials say that they’ve made countless efforts to notify the residents.

“We did a campaign this weekend with county employees putting handouts in peoples doors, door to door literally walking. Grassroots effort to let people know,” spokeswoman Cynthia Oswald said.

In Citrus County, debris pickup is expected to cost $1.3 million. FEMA could end up picking up half the tab, the county says.

There’s even more cleanup to be done west of Highway 19, from Crystal River to Homosassa.

“It was a wake-up call for all of us that this can happen at anytime,” Oswald said. “We can have seasons that go by that are quiet, and then we can have a category 1 hurricane.”

This first sweep is expected to take two weeks. After 30 days, contractors will be back for a secondary pickup.

About Daniela Hurtado

Daniela is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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