Monday, June 24, 2019
By JESSICA HARDIN
Frustrations about flooding in Boardman reached a boiling point when Monday night’s meeting became a contentious debate among affected residents and the township trustees.
“Which one of you is going to take me in?” Judy Peyko asked of the people at the front of the room.
Her home has been flooded with sanitary backup twice this year, and she fears she hasn’t seen the last of it.
“People are going to be left homeless because of this,” Peyko said.
Peyko said she disagrees with ABC Water and Stormwater District’s plan for investing in stormwater infrastructure. One of the district’s first major expenditures is on a study of the area.
“How many people are you really going to help with those studies?” Peyko asked.
She referenced studies the township conducted after a major flooding event in 2003. The trustees responded saying that the scope of the study was limited and was not able to incorporate swaths of private property.
Peyko has connected with Kathy Miller, a former township trustee, about the area’s flooding and argued that current trustees should take Miller’s lead. “She knows what’s going to work and what’s not going to work,” Peyko said.
As she spoke of Miller, Trustee Tom Costello interjected, saying: “She did crap for four years.”
Trustees responded saying they’ve completed numerous stormwater projects since the 2003 flood.
Administrator Jason Loree showed attendees a newsletter sent in the fall detailing each project the township completed in the last 15 years and the grants the township sought to do so.
“We’re trying to do the right thing,” said Trustee Larry Moliterno.
Residents present also argued that trustees aren’t doing enough to advocate for the township at the county level.
Sixty percent of the county’s sales tax is generated in Boardman, Trustee Brad Calhoun said. He added that the township is advocating at the state level to receive a portion of that money.
Moliterno further explained that due to cuts to local funding at the state level, Boardman misses out on $3 million per year in state funding.
“I guarantee that I care. I worry about all these people,” said Calhoun. Referring to the May 28 rain event, he said, “We did everything we could that night.”