A group of lawmakers from New Jersey and New York met in Pearl River, N.Y. Wednesday to urge Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign a bill to create a bi-state flood commission.
The commission would address flooding issues in waterways that flow between Rockland and Bergen Counties, including the Pascack Brook. Gov. Chris Christie signed New Jersey's version of the bill early last year.
District 39 Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi joined the other lawmakers to support the creation of the 18-member commission, which would address issues affecting the Hackensack, Ramapo and Mahwah Rivers, as well as their tributaries.
“Although separated by the state border, residents in Bergen and Rockland counties share a common problem — widespread and out of control flooding,” Schepisi in a press release. “Both states have an opportunity to work collaboratively on solving an issue which impacts homeowners and businesses and often causes significant financial loss."
The Pascack Brook flooded five times in 2011, the same year a report prepared by Boswell Engineering on behalf of Westwood found that increased development around the brook in both Bergen and Rockland towns had contributed to the problem.
Members of the Hillsdale & Westwood Flood Solution Group, an organization of local residents, have said that the capacity of the brook needs to be increased and United Water needs to change the way they release water from reservoirs during storms.
“For years, people have been frustrated by a lack of meaningful progress that addresses such a recurrent and widespread problem,” Schepisi said. “Between Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and Super Storm Sandy, the flooding created has pushed people to the point where they rightfully expect their government to take action and solve the problem."