By Kathy Savolt -
Several flood-related items were discussed at the January 8th Board of Trustees (BOT) meetings. Although they were presented individually and sporadically at both the work session and the regular meeting. The Mamaroneck Observer will continue our practice to consolidate flood news into one article.
Reversing his initial position when asking the BOT to fund the cameras, Village Manager Jerry Barberio insisted that the cameras were for the Village staff in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and an invaluable early-warning tool for them to deploy resources and issue warnings to the public. Originally, Barberio pitched the idea of the cameras instead of river gauges and touted the benefits for the public. See Article HERE. Citing the cameras’ multiple problems (inability to determine water depth, breakdown when flooded, can’t see in the dark), residents have continued to ask for river gauges to be installed citing new technology that addresses the Village’s previous concerns with real-time information.
Flood Mitigation Advisory Committee (FMAC)
Members of FMAC have repeatedly asked Village officials for more information regarding “everything flood” ranging from the US Army Corps of Engineers’ (ACE) project to Village mitigation efforts to discussions with upstream communities. Frustrated by what they consider a lack of information, FMAC has asked for special meetings with the entire BOT. At the January 8th work session, the BOT decided that Trustee Manny Rawlings, the FMAC liaison to the BOT, Mayor Sharon Torres and Village Manager Jerry Barberio will attend the next FMAC meeting to discuss their concerns. The meeting is scheduled for January 23rd at 7 pm in the courtroom.
Additionally, the BOT expanded the membership of FMAC from seven to nine members to address the need for membership from all areas of the Village affected by flooding. The newly appointed committee members are Sue Deshensky and David Freeman.
Village Manager Report
Barberio reported that the Village had removed 2,100 cubic yards of debris from the rivers with some of it “trucked away” and some “still sitting on site.”
With his imminent departure, Barberio reminded the BOT they needed to change the persons designated to contact ACE. He requested they include the Village Engineer. Mayor Torres has already been designated.
With many residents urging the Village to do something about the Mamaroneck dam and the reservoir, Barberio advised the BOT to “purchase the dam” from the Westchester Joint Water Works and “dredge the reservoir.” These recommendations were not accompanied by any studies recommending these actions although the dam has been cited as inadequate for flood control and non-compliant with current State dam safety regulations. See article HERE.
Barberio also reported that despite emails to ACE, the Village does not have any detailed information on the status of the project. The Village needs a signed agreement with ACE to bind the non-federal sponsors (County and State) to their shares of the work. The County is willing to use their share to demolish the Ward Avenue bridge despite delayed plans to rebuild it.
Barberio reported that the Village has no information about the recent lack of work on the Waverly Avenue Bridge project. Work was halted during the holidays but was expected to resume by now. Deputy Village Manager Dan Sarnoff reported that he had been in touch with the contractor to make certain the site was secure with the imminent storm. Residents may remember the project delays caused by Barberio cancelling the Town’s permit and stalling the start of the work (scheduled for last October) due to a squabble with the Town over the payment for two police officers to direct traffic. See HERE.
At the work session, the BOT agreed to put waiving building permit fees for home elevation projects on the January 22nd meeting agenda.