Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

July 18, 2013

State to help flood victims

(Continued)

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — It’s known that around 600 basements were pumped out by firefighting crews on the day of the storm.

To 4th Ward Alderman Patrick Schrader’s suggestion that officials should encourage more filings, to keep the aid list going, City Attorney John Ottaviano fairly shouted a terse “No!”

Legally, notices of claim are an assertion by property owners that the city is somehow responsible for their property losses. By law, they must be turned over to the city’s liability insurer for review and a decision whether payouts are in order.

Most flood-related claims will not be paid, Ottaviano said. The storm that hit the city on June 28 is classifed as a 100-year storm, “an act of God (for which) the city is not liable,” he said.

Encouraging property owners to file notices of claim just to get a list going for disaster aid purposes could end up working against the city, Ottaviano said. Its annual premium is based in part on the number of notices filed against it, not just the number of claims paid out.

“Hindsight being 20/20, I wish we had just started a separate list,” he said. “The amount of claims (filed this year) most likely will have an impact on our premium going forward.”

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Also relating to storm recovery, Council President Anne McCaffrey reiterated that the amnesty on normal rules of refuse disposal, including limits on bulk item disposal, ended last Friday. Anyone who continued putting bulk items out to the curb this week should take them back from the curb, she said, because they’re not being picked up anymore.

The next bulk/large item pickup week for residents is Aug. 5-9. Per the normal rules, one large item can go free of charge on the homeowner’s regularly scheduled pickup day. Additional large items must bear a special tag, available from the city clerk’s office for $10 per item.

Officials are aware of a few properties where bulk items set out during the amnesty period were not picked up last week. The addresses were noted and amnesty terms are being honored, at those addresses only, City Clerk Richelle Pasceri said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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