STOCKBRIDGE — Voters on Monday unanimously approved a transfer of $200,000 from certified free cash to cover emergency flood repairs, but not before vigorous discussion about the underlying chronic problems.
The start of the special town meeting was delayed 15 minutes until a necessary 50th voter appeared. When Richard Bradway walked in, he was greeted by a hearty round of applause.
A prolonged downpour on May 29 dumped as much as 5 inches of rain on the community, causing extensive damage in flood-prone areas along Route 183 in Interlaken. Much of the downtown business center as well as the low-lying Town Offices parking lot and lower level were hard hit as well.
Leading up to the vote, several property owners vented their frustration over chronic flooding and drainage problems.
"Are we going to keep throwing money at these problems?" asked Harold French of Church Street. He blamed flawed decisions, bad planning and poor maintenance for most of the issues.
"If we keep throwing money at it, we're wasting our time," he said, asserting that he has spent $250,000 on repairs to his property because of flooding from nearby Prospect Hill.
In response to resident Craig Moffatt's query about possible state or federal reimbursement for the town's cleanup costs, Select Board Chairman Ernest "Chuckie" Cardillo stated that following the state of emergency declared by the town after the deluge, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency "is doing everything in its power" to obtain financial aid for Stockbridge.
Cardillo said the town, working with L B Corp. of Lee, performed temporary and permanent fixes on Route 183 in the Interlaken section as well as on other roadways including Prospect Hill, Old Meeting House, Rattlesnake Mountain, Larrywaug, Williamsville, Shamrock, North Church, Christian Hill, Averic, West Dale, Mohawk Lake, Devon, Old Stage and Lincoln Lane.
Craig Berger, the co-owner of the 1783 Old Corner House at 48 Main St., told the Select Board and Finance Committee members that part of the property is prone to flooding because of drainage from Elm Street.
Cardillo said the town is working to design a prompt solution to resolve the chronic problem, which also causes overflow into the Town Offices parking lot and lower level facilities.
Berger, director of business development for RTR Technologies, owned by his wife, Rosalie, urged town leaders to act swiftly, since he has spent several thousand dollars on flood-related repairs.
Resident John Hart, who shot video of damage following the five-inch torrential downpour on May 29, blamed the owners of certain properties in the area and urged them to take responsibility for repairing problems that impact nearby residents.
Contact Clarence Fanto at 413-637-2551.