Henderson residents ask town officials for help with flooding issues

Henderson residents ask for help

HENDERSON, N.Y. (WWNY) - Waterfront residents in the town of Henderson say they feel forgotten when it comes to high water levels right in their backyards.

Rose Mary Felio is one of them.

"It's not a way to live," she said. "I mean, every time the wind blows and every time it rains, we are scared to death."

Since 2017, Felio says her property on Nutting Street Road has sustained more than $100,000 in assessed flood damage and levels seem to only be rising.

"We're at the mercy of the IJC, our government, and the lake and I'll tell you it's pretty frightening," she said.

She joined a room full of people Wednesday night with the same concerns.

Her neighbor, David Converse, represented a support group they formed, the Concerned Citizens of Henderson, to bring their proposal to the town board. That group will hold their first meeting November 20.

"We are asking the town to represent us to carry our message forward to the various levels of government, whether it be at the county or the state," he said, "and obviously it has to be pushed to the International Joint Commission."

The International Joint Commission, or IJC, is the organization with control over how much water flows from Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River through dams in Massena.

Town board members said they'd be happy to send a letter to those higher in power to push the IJC to lower water levels.

The group also told the town that the tax and property values of their homes do not take into account the immense damage that has been done. The town says that's up to the county.

"It's up to the assessors," town Supervisor John Culkin said. "The town boards have no authority over the assessors whatsoever -- we can't change the rules and regulations, we can't change the percentage of the assessment -- that's the assessors' job."

Thomas Holl says he's living in a friend's basement with his wife who's dealing with health problems. He says they cannot live in their home at all.

"Is the shipping more important, is the power generation more important? he asked. "Is an IJC committee that powerful that they can have the control over our lives? I don't think so."

He wants the support of the town he lives in, but more than that?

“My life here on the lake,” he said. “That was the dream.”

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