Rainy weather as of late and extended time off between board meetings resulted in “a list of stuff brewing,” in the words of Boston Town Supervisor Martin Ballowe. Two residents stood up during the public comment section to express concerns regarding drainage on their property, allowing the board to begin to create solutions to the increasing flooding problems throughout town.
“We have had numerous, numerous problems with flooding in town, over the last few days,” said Ballowe.
“We continuously get flooded out with heavy rains in the spring,” said Mike O’Halloran, a resident of East Hillcroft Drive. “I’ve asked numerous times to have the town come and re-dig the ditch out, to no avail. I’m just wondering why or what I have to do to get it done.”
Councilman Larry Murtha, who has visited the O’Halloran residence twice, took the question and expressed the complications of the matter with more questions: “It is private property, and the town’s policy is not to dig ditches on private property. They’re concerned [that] if they protect their property, is someone else going to flood it? Is it against the law to protect your property? I don’t know.
“The other big reason is the town drainage system also comes into play. What is the town drainage system? How do you define it? What can we do to help the residents? [O’Halloran]’s got sinkholes forming in his front yard. What can we do to help these residents? Is the town responsible for maintaining private drainage? It’s difficult to define.”
Murtha added that he will be out of the country in the coming days but will look into this particular problem when he returns.
It has been nine years since this ditch has been dug out; O’Halloran has lived there for 12.
Doreen Schultz of Leiber Road also spoke out about drainage concerns that affect her property. “My house is right next to the power line road, right next to the hill, and I have a creek that goes right down the center of my land, and then the creek goes up the hill. The issue we’re having is there’s a huge pipe, and all this junk’s coming down the hill.
“They’re coming from this big hole down to this little, tiny hole and then that plugs up. When that plugs up, it goes down behind our property to the cornfield, which floods out the neighbors behind us. Then, once that breaks, it comes down through under the ground to our second part [to another hole], and then that plugs,” she said.
“It’s been five times, and we’ve been there a year and a half. We were told this never happens. Something needs to be done or we’re going to plug it up. It’s our land; it’s our property. Even though it’s water coming down from the hill, if there’s not something done, we’re going to have to do something ourselves, and our solution is to plug it up, let it flow into a corn field and so be it.
“I’m not putting any more money in,” she added. “I’ve already put a drainage system into our yard so we don’t get flooded into our house. We’re not putting any more money in. We’re not cleaning the ditch anymore. Something needs to be done. I’ve had it,” she continued.
“The possible solution to keep the debris out of those pipes is to put a trash rack on the east side of that pipe,” Murtha responded.
“If we had three of those trash racks,” Schultz said, “It would prevent big slabs of wood coming down, because once they get past and go underground, you don’t know if they’re plugging up somewhere else, down the road.”
“It’s difficult to address a lot of these issues because they are complicated,” said Murtha, “but we are doing the best we can, trying to direct the water where we want it to go instead of where it wants to go. It’s no small task.”
In other board matters:
– “We’ve been going through our phone systems here,” said Ballowe. “We’ve been having some difficulties with them and our Internet service – it’s not adequate. And when everything shuts down, it shuts down our town, basically.”
After soliciting bids with three different companies, the town decided to accept the bid from JCL Communications for $15,234.91. Boardway, who has “an ongoing business relationship with one of the bidders,” was excused from voting on the matter and did not participate in any previous discussion.
“I’d like to thank the clerk and the supervisor and the staff for putting the extra effort in for this project to make it go forward,” said Councilman Jeff Genzel. “I think it’s going to be well worth it, for the town citizens.”
– The board accepted the intermunicipal cooperation agreements with both the Hamburg and Orchard Park school districts for 2014-15. “This is an agreement for the town of Boston, which we’ve done over the past years, with the school boards,” said Ballowe. “We collect the local school taxes for town residents here. Every year, we have to renew the contracts with them.”
– An application of a special permit for dumping materials submitted by Russell Goldberg was delayed, due to the fact that Goldberg had not paid the required fee, prior to the board meeting. “What I will do is, I have the check to pay. If the permit is granted, I will accept it.”
Councilman Jay Boardway explained that the fee had to be paid before the application can be approved; therefore, Goldberg submitted the check. Before anymore action could be taken with the application, a public hearing needed to be scheduled, in order to inform Goldberg’s neighbors of his intentions. The board meeting was scheduled and approved for Wednesday, Aug. 6.
– Resolution 2014-11 was passed, which established the work days for each of the elected officials for the Boston Town Board.
– Paul Reineke was present for the town’s public hearing regarding his application for a special use permit for dumping of materials at 7010 Boston State Road. Reineke withdrew his request, closing the hearing with no further public comment.
– Mike Brinkerhoff, a resident of the town whose brother was a fallen trooper seven years ago, expressed his appreciation to the board and the town of Boston. His appearance before the board came shortly after his foundation’s sixth annual race, which had 700 participants. “I’m here tonight just to thank you, plain and simple,” said Brinkerhoff. “We held, in June, our sixth annual race. I wanted to thank the members of the town.
“The comments,” he continued, “if I could record them, of your facilities and this town park, from people from Niagara Falls to Arizona, are glowing. You’re doing a wonderful job.”
– “Due to the resignation of Town Historian Keith Kaszubik, there is a vacancy in our town historian position,” said Ballowe. The appointment of town historian is made solely by the supervisor; therefore, Ballowe appointed Dawn Boncal to finish out Kaszubik’s vacant term. “Dawn has shown great dedication and work ethic for the town,” commented Ballowe. “I believe she will do a great job for the town and be a favorable representation as town historian.” Her term ends at the end of this year.
– The board recognized Joseph Gallagher’s appointment to the town planning board. The appointment was made at the planning board’s meeting that was held on June 24 and was scheduled for that board’s agenda for Tuesday, July 22.
The board will reconvene on Wednesday, Aug. 6 at 7:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Boston Town Hall, located at 8500 Boston State Road in Boston.