CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Linda Florea lives a short distance from the main road, just off a dirt road in the community of Ozella in Citrus County, an area hit hard by Hurricane Idalia.
Florea left her home before the storm and returned to find water from storm surge had entered her residence and soaked her belongings.
“The storm surge did get in the house a bit and we did have to take up floors and a little bit of wall. I don’t have dry wall, I was smart enough not to do that,” said Florea.
Debris from the storm lines the main road and her street.
On Tuesday, some people in the neighborhood were informed by a contractor they will not pick up the debris from streets that are considered to be private. Florea lives on one of those streets.
“Doesn’t seem quite fair to me because we pay bills, even though our street’s private we are still paying the county all of the county fees,” said Florea.
Getting her damaged items to the street will not be easy for Florea.
“For people like me, that are single, that’s hard,” she said.
Gary Bartell owns the Ozella Keys Marina and spoke to contractors in the area about the debris problem.
“I’m assuming by law, by FEMA regulations can not go down these private roads to pick up this trash. We’ve talked to a lot of people, we went and drove around last night, a lot of people don’t even know that their roads are private,” said Bartell.
A county representative said “removal of debris in the wake of Hurricane Idalia is a top priority for Citrus County.”
They say they will work with the contractor to find a solution for people on private roads.
“Currently, the contractor is providing removal services on public rights-of-way only. (Per FEMA guidance, debris removal from private property is generally the responsibility of the property owner, just as before the hurricane.) However, Citrus County is working with our federal, state, and local partners to seek and implement solutions to assist residents living on private roads. This is just step one in a long disaster recovery process, and more information will become available as it moves forward,” the representative said in a statement.
Bartell says he hopes the debris is removed soon.
“One good high tide and all of this trash that’s out here that’s being piled up is going to end up in the rivers,” said Bartell who has lived in the area his entire life.