It’s 2018, a new year. I have a lot of possible resolutions for the Village. One big one is to have the Village take over maintenance of the sidewalks. It is crazy that every homeowner needs to pay for their sidewalks.
Other communities have done this, and it works well, and ends up being quite a modest price per household. The economies of scale outweigh the higher cost of the prevailing wage requirement the village needs to pay, and the sidewalks can be maintained in a rational manner.
Currently, there is a conflict between street trees and sidewalks, where the tree grows and starts damaging the sidewalk. The sidewalk, street tree, and curb should be managed together, and in many cases a more expense sidewalk treatment is needed to accommodate important trees.
The key here financially is that it is a fee, not a tax, so the tax-exempt properties will have to pay the fee. Again, the cost won’t be that high, but spreading the cost to all property owners allows this to be affordable for each property. Grace church, which has a ton of frontage and would see a higher price tag, would get a deferment like the other properties who have kept their sidewalks in excellent condition and have been recently done. And, i believe it would no more money that they pay to maintain their own sidewalks, which they do an excellent job.
This obviously needs analysis, so that is the first step, to study it. Hopefully there is a grant to help in that regard.
Another key benefit to the village is that the program would help pay for an in-house engineer, which the village would really benefit from. We pay a lot of money to an outside engineer but don’t have a revenue stream to justify bringing the position in-house….
This is a lot of work, and would make anybody in Village Hall groan with the thought of it. But it would be a huge benefit to the property owners and more fair.