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Supervisor criticizes delays on drainage work

Amherst is taking too long to address its flooding and drainage problems, an impatient Supervisor Satish B. Mohan said Monday.

Mohan, who heads a group of top town officials looking into the repeated destructive flooding in parts of the town, said he was frustrated by the group's lack of activity. But he also excused the town's managers, saying they were reacting to the system that created them.

"Three or four months have gone by without much progress," Mohan said following a Town Board work session.

"It goes from one [board member] to the attorney to the engineer," he said, adding that officials in the group "are not designed to act. The action is not there."

If the matter comes before him, "I say . . . let us approve it within a week. We have selected the contractor."

But, he said, "It takes three weeks just to meet with a person."

One resident agreed with Mohan's complaint. Speaking to town officials, Mary Shapiro urged the board to end the delays.

"The flooding is increasing in frequency and degree. More areas are being affected, with higher water levels and more destructive effects" on soil and foundations, she said.

Shapiro showed pictures of flooded homes in northeast Amherst.

"The process has been delayed long enough. Preliminary studies have been done and it's time to begin the plan," she said.

Mohan called the drainage work needed by the town "a one-year job," and added that town officials are not active people by nature.

"We have not done any projects; we have established ourselves as administrators," he said. "Acting is not there. Movement is very slow. . . . I say approve it today."

e-mail: tdolan@buffnews.com

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