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Homeowner says county is taking too long on flooding issue

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Posted at 7:14 PM, Jun 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-01 02:58:26-04

UPDATE 6/23:
Jerry Toporek says Public Works cleared his pipes Wednesday morning.


PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — Jerry Toporek and his wife Rosemary woke up on November 11, 2020, to three inches of floodwater in their home from Tropical Storm Eta.

As a disabled navy veteran, living with his wife and mother-in-law - who’s also disabled, it’s not a good time to pick up and leave.

“We don’t want to leave this house. This is my wife’s first house that she purchased with me, and we call this our little bit of paradise. We love it here,” he said.

Right after Eta, he reached out to Charlotte County, but they couldn’t help with the damage, because he’s in a flood zone. His flood insurance deductible would cost more than the actual damage, so he paid out-of-pocket to clean up the mess. He says the county could prevent the flooding from seeping into his home, if the gullies, or underground pipes in front of his home, would properly drain stormwater into the nearby canal.

Back in December 2020, he put in a work order with the Charlotte County Public Works Department. Finally, on June 9th, Public Works assessed the drainage.

“This guy that came out, he actually said they’re in Deep Creek for the next two or three months. They don’t have any idea when they can get a crew out here,” said Toporek.

Hours after Fox 4 reached out Public Works on Tuesday, they finally put a deadline on getting the job done. They sent the following statement:

The crews are scheduled to be out there in two weeks. They will clean out some pipes along with some line and grade. Line and grade is the process that regrades the swales to help the flow of the stormwater. However, this area is highly vulnerable to storm surge. The typical issue in this area is not drainage. It is with storm surge.

Toporek is hopeful, but says he’s not holding his breath.

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