September 11, 2013


Residents want flooding fix

County analyzing problem areas, looking at state funding

ResidentsJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
A section of Tower Road in Blodgett Mills was washed out Aug. 8 after heavy rains. Cortland County’s Flooding and Stormwater Subcommittee met Tuesday and heard from residents and town officials who want something done to prevent future flooding.

Staff Reporter

Residents like Cortlandville’s Renee Lobdell came to the county’s Flooding and Stormwater Subcommittee meeting Tuesday night, seeking answers about recurring flooding problems and sharing stories of damage incurred in recent storms.
Lobdell circulated pictures of her property off Route 11 that had lost about 12 feet of land when a neighboring creek overflowed its embankment during the August storms. She and neighbor Ben Doty said the creek bed cannot handle all the water runoff from Interstate 81 that comes down into it and they want someone held accountable.
Lobdell and other residents as well as town officials filled the room and looked for answers but Lobdell said she left with little hope that anything could be done.
“Everything I heard today doesn’t change the fact that no one wants to take responsibility,” Lobdell said.
She said that when Route 81 was built, the creek next to her house was intended by the state Department of Transportation to handle the runoff. But it cannot, she said, and when she looks for help from state and local agencies the problem falls on her shoulders.
“Soil and Water (Conservation District) gave recommendations and they estimate the materials alone would cost $20,000,” Lobdell said, referring to the county agency. “How are we supposed to do that.”
For municipalities, there might be more hope. The committee agreed to hold future meetings with municipalities that want to work with county Emergency Management Assistant Coordinator Brenda DeRusso in going through an extensive application process for future state funding.
DeRusso will be available at future meetings of the subcommittee to guide municipalities through the application process and to listen to residents’ concerns.
The next meeting is set for Oct. 15.
Soil and Water Conservation District Manager Amanda Barber warned that municipalities will have to do number crunching and ask hard questions about the cost and benefit of going through the application process. For example, if the application has little chance of being granted then it might not be worth spending the resources on the process.
DeRusso is in the process of going through hazardous mitigation analysis of various problem areas in the county, specifically in Cortlandville and Solon.
“We want to identify what is wrong, not fix it with a Band-Aid,” DeRusso said.
DeRusso said the future meetings of the committee will look in more detail at various problems municipalities face and determine if it is worth going through the application process.


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