"We understand that some people may misinterpret that the curbside debris pickup from our residential areas is also available to apartment complexes and other commercial properties but that is not the case," said Leslie Jones, Joplin city finance director. "Commercial property owners need to make their own arrangements for debris removal, either by hauling it off themselves or hiring a contractor to pick it up and haul it to an approved landfill."
Commercial debris is not included in the curbside program because it is generally not considered eligible for federal reimbursement and/or direct pickup under Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) public assistance program guidelines.
According to FEMA this rule is established because:
- A for-profit business is expected to have its own resources to deal with debris removal, i.e. their own money, their own staff, larger corporate organizations that can help with the cost, etc.
- Most businesses are covered by insurance, which generally includes debris removal and, in many cases, demolition as well. In disaster recovery, insurance is always the first line of defense behind a person's own private funds for repairing and rebuilding.
- Businesses may have the ability to obtain a loan - either from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) or another regular bank source - to cover the costs of debris removal.
For those who do not have insurance, other possible options are being explored by officials from the city of Joplin and the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce in an effort to help businesses move forward more quickly.
Business owners who do not have the ability to remove their debris through any other means should call and report that status to a (417) 627-2900 as soon as possible to help officials get a better idea of needs and shortfalls.