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The Telegram
  • Ilion sets deadline for flood debris removal

  • Ilion residents who want the village to pick up their flood debris have until Monday afternoon to get it to the curb.

    Mayor John Stephens announced during Wednesday evening’s board of trustees meeting that 2 p.m. Monday will be the cutoff date for flood debris removal in the village.

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  • Ilion residents who want the village to pick up their flood debris have until Monday afternoon to get it to the curb.
    Mayor John Stephens announced during Wednesday evening’s board of trustees meeting that 2 p.m. Monday will be the cutoff date for flood debris removal in the village.
    “If there is demand for another few days of pick up in the near future the board will reassess this decision and may decide to offer this service again,” said Stephens.
    He added debris placed to the curb must be flood-damaged or residents will be ticketed for placing illegal materials out for disposal.
    “This service is for flood-damaged items only. It’s not for residents who want to clean out their attics, basements or garages. If it’s not flood-damaged, don’t put it out to the curb. Anyone found abusing this service will be subject to a ticket,” said Stephens.
    He thanked residents for their cooperation and patience during the past two weeks.
    “The flooding caused considerable infrastructure damage throughout the village and our crews have been working hard to cleanup the mess. There still is a lot to do, but we are making progress and we’re keeping our fingers crossed the federal or state government will come in with funding to help us pay for all this,” said Stephens.
    The mayor said he would remain in contact with U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Hanna as their offices continue to push the White House to approve a federal disaster declaration for the affected counties.
    “I don’t know how this couldn’t qualify for a disaster declaration,” said Stephens. “The power system repairs in Mohawk alone will cost $6 million, if not more. I don’t see how we won’t reach the $24 million threshold to qualify for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. There’s a lot of damage out there and we’re finding out about more damage every day. I would be surprised if FEMA didn’t come in.”
    The mayor asked residents with flood-related issues to contact the village.
    “I’ve heard from people out there that they think we’re too busy or that they don’t want to bother us, but that is what the police and fire departments are there for. That’s what the Department of Public Works is there for. It’s been two weeks since the first storm passed through and I’m still finding out about some of the situations that are out there. The village can’t do anything to help unless we know about the situation, so we’re asking our residents to contact us. Please let us know so we can help,” said Stephens.
    “A lot of it has to do with how resourceful we are around here,” said Trustee Barb Collea. “We had a lot of residents who helped their neighbors or took it upon themselves to get the water out of their basement. I heard they same thing that they didn’t want to bother the village with their problem, but it’s not a bother when they call.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Stephens and Department of Public Works Superintendent Jack Sterling praised the cooperation the village has received from state agencies, including the Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Health and Department of Transportation.
    “The cooperation form the state has been 100 times better than it was in 2006,” said Stephens. “I think we all learned a lessen from that flood, and this time we are working together to get things cleaned up and repaired. It’s a lot different this time.”
    “The cooperation from the state has been great,” said Sterling. “They are helping us out big time and they are saving us money by doing some of the repairs for us.”
    Even with the state’s assistance Stephens said the village is looking at considerable expenses, including between $300,000 and $400,000 for paving.
    “The village will have to find a way to front the money to pay to have the streets that were damaged repaired and hope that the state or federal government will reimburse us for the work,” he said. “It’s a gamble, but it’s probably what we’re going to have to do.”
    In other business Wednesday evening, the board of trustees approved an expenditure of $2,500 for miscellaneous supplies to establish an emergency management office in the municipal building. The supplies include four or five dry erase boards and the cost to move the radio system from the downstairs of the building to the upstairs.
    Fire Chief James Trevett said the office would be for command staff during an emergency situation and would lessen some of the communication issues that existed.
    “This is for employee safety,” he said. “Not only that, but we’ll be able to have a better understanding of who is where and who is doing what to minimize the damage,” he said.
    “We did the best we could, but the communication was very poor,” said Sterling. “We had a hard time talking to each other and knowing were someone was. This will help.”
    Stephens said in an emergency situation communications would be funneled through the emergency management office, which will be in a room next to the mayor’s office.
    “I believe this is the way to go,” he said. “This office will allow the village to have all of its command staff in one room to make decisions on how to deal with the situation.”
    “Events like this last flood allow us to review our response and identify positives and negatives. Shame on us if we don’t do something to correct our negatives,” said Trustee Robert Wellington. “We have an responsibility to improve our deficiencies.”
    Stephens said the office may be updated with a computer in the future.
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