Reynoldsburg News

City plans to revive dormant program to fix sidewalks

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The city of Reynoldsburg plans to revive a sidewalk-repair program that began in 1994 that would require residents to pay up front for fixing damaged sidewalks or have the city do it and assess property owners for the work.

Reynoldsburg City Council has authorized Service Director Nathan Burd to request proposals from engineering firms for the program.

Money for the program will come from an account that City Auditor Richard Harris said was first established in the mid-1990s; he told city council in September that he had discovered there is $650,000 in a dormant account that can still be used for sidewalk repairs.

The idea is that the city will use the money to pay contractors to do the work for residents who don't pay for it themselves. The city then is reimbursed, but that happens slowly through property tax assessments paid over several years.

Burd said he researched past legislation on the sidewalk assessment program to understand how it was developed and how much has been completed. He said the last completed portion was phase 5 in 2002. The construction part of that phase cost $391,744.80 and the average assessment was $619 per property.

Harris said he thought the program lapsed in 2007 or 2008 because of construction problems around trees that had to be moved.

Burd said the area targeted for phase 6 was defined in 1999 as "the west side of Rosehill Road north to the north corporation limit, then west to the west corporation limit, then south to the south corporation limit, then east to Rosehill Road."

"After proposals from engineering firms are received, I will go back to council with a recommendation on which firm to hire," he said. "The engineer will review every sidewalk panel in the phase to determine which panels need to be repaired or replaced."

Burd said Reynoldsburg City Council will need to pass a resolution of necessity to approve the engineer's plans.

"Impacted residents would be notified that they will be required to replace their portion of the sidewalk or allow a city-hired contractor to replace the sidewalk and have the costs assessed to their property taxes," he said. "In the past, residents were given one year to complete the work."

He said the legislative process of the program includes hiring an engineering firm to do a review of the target neighborhood and approving a resolution of necessity that outlines the specific streets to be included. Residents would then be notified with a deadline to repair the sidewalks.

Burd said the process could include a public meeting to discuss the program and provide a forum to answer questions.

He said council would also have to approve hiring of a contractor to complete the sidewalks for residents who opt for assessments and an ordinance would be required to levy the assessments.