Utica mayor on preventing future flooding

By WKTV News

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) – Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri says they’re taking little steps to prevent a big catastrophe.

“We're making sure our catch basins are clean. We're taking a look at all our waterways just to make sure that there’s no debris inside of it,” said Mayor Palmieri.

But with torrential and consistent downpours, he says there’s only so much they can do.

“We're trying to do everything we can at this point, but I think we’re really finding out at this point that Mother Nature is really more powerful than what we can do,” he said.

The creeks in Utica were extensively cleaned last fall, with a follow up in the spring.

“Thankfully for the Utica creeks and ravines, they’re not regulated so that we're able to get our equipment in there and do what we need to do to make sure people do not flood,” said David Short, Department of Public Works Commissioner in Utica.

Palmieri says Utica was lucky compared to other municipalities that have regulations blocking them from stream maintenance.

“We’ve worked extremely well with D.E.C. There are regulations, but at the end of the day when you have people suffering with loss on a consistent basis then I think we all have to reevaluate what has to be done to protect these homes and the livelihood of these people,” he said.

For right now, they say a long-term plan isn’t in the works.

“Those are things that are years in the making and take tons and tons of money,” said Short.

“Our long-term plan is our short term. Staying on top of them. As I said, we just invested in Halleck’s Ravine, we just had an upgrade in North Utica in some of the creeks out there. So we have gone and processed and we bonded out to take care of what was a problem. At this point it’s maintenance and preventative maintenance,” said Mayor Palmieri.

The mayor and D.P.W. commissioner also say residents can help prevent future flooding by keeping the drains in front of their homes clean of debris.

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