Legislators shift blame for poor condition of county roads


CLARENCE, N.Y. (WIVB) — Residents living along Conner Road said they’ve tried everything to improve their street.

They show up to meetings, they make phone calls. They even place signs in front of their homes. In more than a decade, they said, progress has been at a standstill.

“I can’t take this anymore,” said Phil Petruzzo, who’s lived along Conner for close to three decades. “Enough is enough. Mr. Casilio, Mr. Poloncarz, get together and do something about the people of Conner Road.”

Frustrations have been mounting in this portion of the town of Clarence for years.

Petruzzo is the one with the large sign that alerts drivers to facts that become quickly obvious as they travel down his street. But don’t avert attention for too long. On Conner Road, there’s not much room for error. The lanes are narrow — barely enough room to fit two school buses side by side — and the shoulders are narrower, or replaced by weeds and deep culverts.

“Deplorable,” is how Robert Connelly describes the street on which he’s lived for 28 years. “It’s full of potholes. The ditches have not been unmaintained. There’s standing water. It was fixed several years ago in a very inappropriate manner, and it’s just an accident waiting to happen.”

Republican legislators are blaming Democrat Executive Mark Poloncarz, saying he’s failing to follow through on promises to fix Conner and several other roads in poor condition throughout Erie County.

Even who’s responsible for the county-owned road, is foggy.

“It’s a political football,” Connelly said. “The county owns it, they don’t want to maintain it, they don’t want to pay to maintain it, but they want the town of Clarence to take it over and let Clarence pay for it.”

Poloncarz responded Tuesday, saying it was legislators playing politics. And that the county maintains an aggressive road program, and road construction season remains in full swing.

Specifically, he said the town of Clarence has “refused” to take ownership of the section of Conner, which is less than one mile in length.

But people like Petruzzo and Connelly said they feel like they’ve been taken for a ride long enough. They don’t care who fixes it. As long as it gets done.

“I pay taxes, like anybody else does,” Petruzzo said. “We pay heavy taxes in Clarence, especially for the county, and we get nothing in return.”

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