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Clarence looking to do more flood control, keep taxes down in 2014

More aggressive flood control, improvements to Goodrich Road and keeping town taxes down are all things to watch for in Clarence during the coming year.

Supervisor David C. Hartzell Jr. outlined town goals for 2014 during his annual State of the Town address on Wednesday, including mitigating the flooding from Tonawanda Creek.

Clarence was hit by widespread flooding during the week of Christmas, prompting more than 100 people to show up at a recent Town Hall forum looking for answers from officials.

Hartzell promised that the town will do what it can.

“I will be at a meeting with the Town Board in February to propose additional flood-control measures that will help keep Clarence dry,” Hartzell said.

“If you combine our efforts as a Town Board with an aggressive policy of ditching by our highway department, we will work to keep the water in Tonawanda Creek instead of our taxpayers’ basements,” he said.

Hartzell also spoke about the condition of Goodrich Road, another big complaint from residents at that Jan. 9 forum.

The design work for the county road project has begun, and officials are hopeful that construction between Lapp and Tonawanda Creek will begin this year.

“Goodrich Road is a death trap,” Hartzell said, “and this project is long overdue.”

The State of the Town address was sponsored by the Clarence Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday at Orazio’s Restaurant on Main Street in Clarence.

Hartzell also projected the town’s general tax rate will drop again this year, anticipated 129 new senior apartments on Transit Road will open by December and talked about progress on sewer lines in the Harris Hill section of town.

A consortium of builders have agreed to contribute $300,000 toward the build out of sewer lines, which should help cover costs for one-third of the Harris Hill trunk line, the supervisor said. The town is hopeful the cost for the next third can be covered by commercial property owners.

“Bad news?” he said. “Our initial estimates are that it will cost us $41 million to sewer the last third, that being the existing residential section of Harris Hill.

“We are currently working with our grant writer to try to raise enough state and federal funds to complete this project,” Hartzell said. “Federal funds have been available in the past, and we feel that they may be available in the near future.”