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Brownsville resident says brush piles from winter freeze still not picked up

4 months 2 weeks 4 days ago Monday, June 07 2021 Jun 7, 2021 June 07, 2021 11:14 PM June 07, 2021 in News - Local

Brush piles left behind after the winter freeze are causing concerns for some Brownsville residents and business owners.

Ruben Barrientes Jr. says he expected permitting, inspections, and COVID-19 safety precautions to take a lot of work and time, but he never expected one week of cold weather to keep him from opening.

Barrientes Jr. says the dead brush was cut down in February.

The city's contractor, Republic Services, did pick up brush on his street, but due to his property being commercially zoned in a neighborhood, Barrientes Jr. was told an inspector needed to check it out.

Months later, the brush is still piled up at his entrance.

"If it was a residential, we could get the trashcan yesterday," Barrientes Jr. said. "But we haven't had any response from the city of Brownsville."

The recent storms made the situation worse, and with hurricane season underway Barrientes Jr. says he wants what he pays for.

"Yesterday, I got the bill for our taxes. Who do I pay the taxes to? A stranger or to the city? They want their taxes. I got the bill," Barrientes Jr. said. "I think it's only right that they come and take care of their part."

City of Brownsville officials said they are receiving updates from Republic Services as brush pickup continues around the city.

Republic Services officials say they only provide brush collection to residents who have signed up for services with a 96-gallon cart container.

But Barrientes Jr. says he's not been able to get one of those containers until a city inspector views his property. He says he has made several calls over the last months, but nobody has shown up.

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