Palm Beach County government and the 39 municipalities and other agencies had to collectively total at least $4.7 million in costs to qualify, county Public Safety Director Stephanie Sejnohasaid Thursday. She said the $3.4 million estimate is exclusively for the county and she did not have figures for the other entities.
The authority reported last week that volume was about 40 percent higher the Monday and Tuesday after Matthew’s Oct. 6 near-miss than it was for Sept 26-27, before the storm became a threat.
The authority said Matthew knocked down a lot of vegetation but that people also took the opportunity during preparation and cleanup to do mini-spring cleanings. The problem grew geometrically when pickups were canceled for Oct. 6-7.
Matthew generated about one day’s worth of additional garbage and three to four days of additional yard trash, Chief Operating Officer Mark Eyeingtonold county commissioners sitting Tuesday as the authority’s board.
“We’re slowly getting back to normal,” John Archambo, the authority’s director of customer relations, told the board. He said garbage pickups are caught up and yard pickups should catch up by Saturday.
The death toll from Hurricane Matthew’s rampage across Haiti now stands at 1,000. Hundreds of thousands more are in need of assistance as the storm damaged the impoverished nation’s water supply, wrecked its already-feeble housing stock and cut off communities.
Officials from Palm Beach County are reaching out to help.
Delray Beach Commissioner Al Jacquet is already on the ground in Haiti assessing the need for volunteers and rescue efforts, according to a news release from Riviera Beach.
Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters, Port of Palm Beach Commissioners Wayne Richards and Jean Enright and a team of about 30 doctors will be joining Jacquet in Haiti in two weeks to deliver aid and medical supplies.
“The best way to receive a blessing is to be a blessing,” the mayor said in announcing the delegation’s travel plans.
Florida’s Haitian-American population is the largest in the nation, according to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. Port-au-Prince is 750 miles from Riviera Beach, and many Haitian-Americans have settled there and in other communities in south Florida.
Haitians are in particular need of antibiotics and medical supplies to treat open wounds.
A list of other medical supplies and needs, along with instructions for the packing of donations, can be found on the World Harvest Missions Outreach web site at http://www.newlife4kids.com.
Local residents can bring donations to containers at A/C Self Storage on Blue Heron Blvd. in Riviera Beach and to Trinity Church International at 7255 S. Military Trail in Lake Worth. Donations can also be brought to the fire stations at Riviera Beach’s municipal complex and on Singer Island.
The figures are for all garbage, including household trash, large items such as furniture or appliances, and yard trash, the authority said.
“All of the fallen trees, branches, palm fronds and other yard waste generated by Hurricane Matthew have created a lot more yard waste than usual. In addition, residents appear to be throwing away larger items from their garages and yards they may have moved or stored during their storm preparation, but may now feel they don’t need or want any longer,” the authority said in a release.
On top of that, the authority said, regular collections were canceled on Thursday and Friday, causing a backlog.
The authority said all garbage pickup should be back to normal by next week but it might be another week or two before that pile of yard trash at your curb is hauled off.
Call the authority’s customer service line at 561-697-2700 or 866-792-4636.
Palm Beach County, breathing a collective sigh of relief, is scaling back emergency operations after its brush with Hurricane Matthew caused minimal damage.
“It’s been busy,” County Mayor Mary Lou Berger said during a press conference Friday at the county’s Emergency Operations Center. “It’s been interesting. It’s been annoying. It’s been exciting. But we have gotten through this.”
All evacuees can return, and the county is under no warnings or other advisories, County Administrator Verdenia Baker said.
An assessment found no damage to county structures or assets. About 38,750 people in the county lost power. FPL said it expects to restore power to all customers by Saturday.
Power outages or internal malfunctions have knocked out 20 to 30 traffic signals. The county urges residents to treat intersections with non-working traffic signals as a four-way stop.
Intracoastal bridges remain closed to boat traffic but are open to motorists.
Some 7,560 people sought refuge from Hurricane Matthew at the county’s 13 shelters, with 184 people staying at the special needs shelter at the South Florida Fairgrounds.
The pet-friendly shelter at West Boynton Recreation Center reached full capacity, with 245 people and 200 animals.
County staffers fielded 5,289 calls from residents who had questions about everything from warnings to road closures.
The Emergency Operation Center, where some county staff have stayed overnight monitoring the storm, will scale back its operations at 5 p.m. but will remain at an elevated level of readiness until Saturday afternoon or longer if needed.
County officials were ready for questions about whether they acted too aggressively given the muted impacts of the storm.
Baker said she would not change the county’s actions and warnings. Emergency Management Director Bill Johnson agreed.
“If folks have doubts whether we made the right decision, they just need to look up the coast a little and see what damage the storm is doing,” Johnson said.