Homeowners in Avon are being asked to install city sidewalks on their own dime. The move has some residents upset and wondering, why isn’t the city paying for this?
A memo was mailed to several homes throughout the city last week, telling residents they are required by law to install sidewalks on their stretch of property before next summer.
But if it’s a city project, why wouldn’t the city pay for it?
“I actually, when I bought the house was hoping that the city would put a sidewalk in and I assumed that they’d be responsible for it,” said Jeff Hudson.
Hudson was a bit surprised when he got a city memo in the mail, telling him and several other Avon residents that they have to install sidewalks in front of their homes before June. If not, the city will do it and the homeowner will be billed.
“I would love a sidewalk but I’m not sure why I would be the one paying for it since it’s their ordinance, I pay property taxes, I’m not sure why that wouldn’t cover the cost of the sidewalk,” said Hudson.
About a quarter mile of sidewalk stretching through various parts of the city is now being targeted at an assessed cost of $25 per foot. City officials say residents can seek their own contractor or install the sidewalks themselves at a lower cost. Additionally, if the sidewalk cannot be installed before June 2018, the city, in select cases, may offer a time extension.
New developments built in Avon after 2001 were required to have sidewalks, but older homes, like Hudson’s, are now having to play catchup.
“So it’s not even about the money, it’s about the principle of, we pay property taxes and that should really cover this cost,” said Hudson.
“When it’s all said and done, there's relatively little money that's left for a lot more infrastructure things or even improvements,” said Avon Mayor Bryan Jensen.
Jensen says after property tax money is divvied among schools, police and public works, there isn’t much left for sidewalks. But sidewalks, through city ordinance, have been prioritized by the city. The only thing is, the city can’t pay for them.
“In a development, we make the developer put all the sidewalks in, so that’s incorporated in the price of the house when someone buys it. The surrounding areas then in terms of connecting those to everywhere else is where we ask the residents to pay their portion in front of their sidewalk,” said Jensen.
If you live in a portion of the city that has sidewalks, but your property doesn’t, said Jensen, in the next couple years, you can expect a letter in the mail telling you to install sidewalks.