A neighborhood on the border of the City of Binghamton and Town of Dickinson has been overrun with rats, wet sewage and a horrible smell thanks to a vacant property on the block.

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Melissa Burns, a neighbor directly adjacent to the vacant property, has been fighting an uphill battle to save her neighborhood from the fallout of a garage that is literally overflowing with garbage. According to her, trash has been piled up in the garage since March of 2020. And despite the property receiving multiple violations, it still remains uncleaned. She's even pushed for neighbors to join her in lodging formal complaints with the Town of Dickinson.

Neighbors have had to deal with rats overrunning the property and sewage streaming down the driveway as the result of a water leak.

"They're both experiencing issues with the rats as well," said Burns. "Hundreds, thousands, we've done rat poison to try and help curb some of that... it looked like the ground was moving because of how many were in our backyard. We don't thankfully have them in the house but there's got to be hundreds. If we can see them as often as we do there's got to be hundreds if not thousands."

Burns also reported that a couple was planning on moving into the property within the last two months. That couple started to work on the house but apparently gave up on the property when they saw the state of the garbage garage.

To make matters worse, in June there were even squatters on the property. Burns reported that when police came to the scene they discovered drug paraphernalia and one of the squatters broke into a nearby house to hide. To date, she has been unable to obtain the official records of that incident as the criminal case is ongoing.

The property is owned by Balla Development Corporation, located in Johnson City. The owner of Balla Development Corporation could not be reached for comment, but Steven Engler of Engler and Company reported that he acted as an agent for the owner of the property because the owner lives in Queens, New York.

Engler stated that the owner was aware of the issues with the property and had received a health code violation regarding the garbage filled garage from the Town of Dickinson. Engler also said that the owner was in the process of hiring a crew to clean out the garage and renovate the property entirely. He could not provide a timeline for when that work would take place at the time.

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