Joan Middleton is tired.
She’s tired of begging for something she should have gotten months ago. She’s tired of getting the runaround from her government representatives. She’s tired of doing everything in her power and not getting results.
Middleton and 25 of her neighbors on Floradale Road and the surrounding area had sewage flood into their basements after a rainstorm July 12, 2006. Indeed, every time there has been a major rain event in the last 40 years, residents on the Bloody Brook sewer trunk have had sewage in their homes. Appraisers have told the neighbors that their homes are now worthless, though their assessments remain the same — the Middletons’ home is valued, according to county records, at $79,000. There’s no way it would sell for that much, though, given the scope of the damage and the potential for repeat flooding.
“Our house is valueless,” Middleton said. “I now consider myself homeless.”
Middleton, the spokeswoman for the residents of the affected area, came before the Salina town board at its last regular meeting July 10 to beg for their assistance once again. She asked the members of the board to come to the August meeting of the Onondaga County Legislature and to speak on her behalf and on behalf of her neighbors. The meeting is at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday Aug. 7.
“They don’t care that you’re going to have a slum in your town,” she said of the county. “I need this body of people to represent me. The county does not want to take ownership of this. We need help.”
Middleton has repeatedly expressed her disgust with the manner in which the county has handled the situation. The county held a meeting with the affected residents at Salina Town Hall on May 24, but Middleton said county representatives wouldn’t give them any answers. Her subsequent calls have gotten her nowhere.
“It’s been 47 days since that meeting,” she said, “and, despite my repeated calls to [county representatives], I still have no answers.”
So Middleton did her own research. She discovered that the Liverpool pump station, into which the Bloody Brook sewer trunk empties, was determined to be inadequate after a study in 1999, but no repairs were made to it. She discovered that any backup of the Electronics Park sewer trunk is to be relieved by the Bloody Brook trunk. She discovered that the Bloody Brook trunk has the highest rate of rainwater infiltration of all of the trunks connecting to the Liverpool pump station, making her and her neighbors “sitting ducks every time it rains.”
“I’ve found out more than you can,” Middleton said. “I’m sick of coming before this board and begging for relief.”
Middleton revealed that she had no choice but to sue the county to recoup her losses. “I now have to hire someone to represent me against the entities that I voted into office to represent me,” she said. “It’s ridiculous.”
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.