NORTH TONAWANDA – Flooded basements are nothing new given the recent weather woes, but several residents who appeared Tuesday at a meeting of the Common Council said they believe it can be avoided.
Thomas Galas of Belmont Court East told the Council that he has lived at that address for 32 years and has had severe flooding in his basement with six inches or more of water on at least three occasions and twice fought off the water before it could get to the furnace.
But he was at the meeting to thank the Council, at least in part, for putting in water pumps that helped the situation.
“The flooding on Belmont Court East for me and my neighbors seems to cease when there is a pump in place at South Meadow and East Goundry,” said Galas. He said when he spoke to Alderman Eric Zadzilka and the Department of Public Works, he was assured there would be a pump in place and it made a difference.
“We did have a lot of rain, but the basement stayed dry. I had everything up in the air and still do, but it’s working. Thank-you for all your help,” Galas said. He said when there was flooding, the DPW responded quickly and helped him and his neighbors.
However Galas said during a heavy rain on Dec. 22, the pump was removed and the flooding came back. He told the Council he wants the pump to be there during every heavy rain.
“If it means every neighborhood needs a pump, let’s get them one until the infrastructure can be fixed. We really need a pump on East Goundry,” said Galas.
Wendy Werth of Hagen Avenue said on Dec. 22 she and her neighbors were hit hard by wastewater that backed up into their basements from the sanitary sewers. In her case it caused $6,000 in damage to a finished basement with carpeting and furniture.
“We’ve lived there for almost 14 years and never had it flood before,” said Werth. “I was down there from 3 to 7 a.m. hand bailing the water until my husband could get a pump. I was wondering if our infrastructure is getting worse?”
Members of the Council said it was the first time they had heard of problems on Hagen Avenue. City Clerk Scott P. Kiedrowski said a lot of work was done in the area to address sewers. The issue was turned over to City Engineer Dale Marshall and Public Works Director Bradley Rowles who are already looking at flooding problems in the city.
In another matter the Council met with Police Chief William Hall to discuss a request to close off part of Webster Street for a third year for the Canalside Creamery Cruise, a classic car show that runs from May to September. Both the Council and the chief rejected closing Webster Street.
Several business have rejected closing the street, according to Council President Phillip “Russ” Rizzo.
Hall said, “They don’t get enough vehicles down there that warrant blocking off Webster Street.”
Council members said Manhattan Street or a city parking lot might also suffice for the show.
The issue was adjourned until Council members could meet with the car cruise organizers.
The board also appointed its first woman assistant city attorney, naming Katherine Alexander of North Tonawanda to replace Robert Sondel as assistant city attorney at a salary of $42,000. The new appointment will save the city over $10,000.
City Attorney Shawn P. Nickerson interviewed 12 candidates of 38 that applied and said “all of the candidates were impressive.” He said Alexander had worked for him as an intern when she was in college and “had a great work ethic.” He said she had been working as an assistant in the Niagara County Attorney’s Office.