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Cheektowaga Town Board has fiery exchange over flooding issues around Harlem Road

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Posted at 10:49 PM, Oct 26, 2021

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Businesses and homeowners surrounding Harlem Road in Cheektowaga said they have been experiencing flooding issues since July.

"We actually, in our second flood, had fish swimming in our shop," Rebecca Lapaglia, owner of Merj Fleet Services, a business on Harlem Road, said.

Lapaglia said she's lost more than $20,000 since her shop started flooding back in July. She said she has reached out to the Town of Cheektowaga and the State Department of Transportation multiple times.

"We didn't get a response from Cheektowaga until our story aired on TV," Lapaglia said, "We were visited by the town supervisor and town engineer, who have assured us that they are working, and they are trying to work with the state."

Tuesday night, during a Town Board meeting, there was a heated exchange between council members regarding the flooding issue.

"We need to get our stuff together to make sure we're all on the same page here because we can not play stupid political games with this stuff. That's part of what's happening. Each person on this board really does want to fix this problem. But we need to do it in a way that we're not fighting up there together like children," Councilmember Brian Nowak said.

"So I wanted the town engineer to present tonight to the board what he saw when he was out with me and talking to the residents. Councilmember Adamczyk made a motion, and the board agreed that they'd rather not talk about it right now," Town Supervisor Diane Benczkowski, said.

Lapaglia said the DOT has been there three times, but that has not solved the problem.

"Another downpour. All it takes is five minutes. Five minutes of a downpour and we flood," Lapaglia said.

A Department of Transportation spokesperson said crews cleaned the nearby drainage system on October 22. They are working with the Town of Cheektowaga, Village of Sloan and City of Buffalo to determine the cause.

"We want to hear that they're going to help us now. Long-term solution? It's not going to mean anything to us right now. We need help now," Lapaglia said.