Beavers, residents blamed in Wheatfield drainage woes - The Buffalo News
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Beavers, residents blamed in Wheatfield drainage woes

WHEATFIELD – Not all of the town’s drainage woes are the result of overgrown ditches, it was reported at Monday’s Town Board meeting.

Councilman Larry L. Helwig decried beavers and residents who have caused interference with drainage facilities.

“When we did the southern drainage from Willow Lake to River Road seven years ago, it worked perfectly,” Helwig said. But last month’s 4-inch rainstorm showed that the pipes weren’t flowing well anymore.

“The beavers love our pipes, and they’re building little houses,” Helwig said. “You can’t keep a guy out there 24 hours to take the beaver sticks out.”

“We have to get rid of the beavers,” Highway Superintendent Arthur F. Kroening said.

Kroening said that he has talked with a couple of men who would trap the beavers alive but that so far no arrangements have been made.

However, frequent efforts to remove the beaver dams have been thwarted by the beavers, who simply return the next night and rebuild, Kroening said.

The beavers have been able to completely block 36-inch drain pipes. Many of the blockages are well inland from the pipes’ outlets.

Kroening said, “I used to catch them myself. I would drive half an hour to release them in the Alabama Swamps [in Genesee County], but I found out that’s illegal. You’re not supposed to relocate animals like that.”

Meanwhile, town officials said a detention pond in the Cherry Hill subdivision, off Blossom and Marigold drives, isn’t working as it was designed because a resident is moving the outflow pipe to produce water levels as much as 2 feet higher than they are supposed to be. That makes it more likely that the pond will overflow during heavy rain.

“We think he has fish in there,” Helwig said.

Kroening said he has talked with the resident. “He gets very belligerent about it. We’ve got to take legal action against him,” Kroening said.

“Why don’t we just yank that pipe out of there? Don’t we have a drainage easement?” Helwig asked.

Town Attorney Robert J. O’Toole said he is researching the issue.

In another matter Monday, Town Assessor Brigette A. Grawe said town residents will be receiving letters this week instructing them to renew their basic STAR school tax exemptions.

Grawe told the board that this is a one-time state requirement involving enforcement of the law that the STAR exemption applies only to a homeowner’s primary residence.

Those who earn more than $500,000 a year or who have delinquent taxes are not eligible for STAR, Grawe said.

“They want your name, your primary residence and your Social Security number, which is how they’re going to track you,” Grawe said.

The letters landing in town residents’ mailboxes this week will include an individual code that must be used in the renewal, either online or by phone.

“If you don’t do it by Dec. 31, they have no forgiveness, so do it,” Grawe said.

The information provided will allow the state Department of Taxation and Finance to confirm homeowners’ eligibility in future years.

Senior citizens who have enhanced STAR already must file annually, and those applications will be taken in October, Grawe said.


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