City Council backs sidewalk program with 50-50 cost split

A city resident shovels snow from her sidewalk on Boyd Street in Watertown in 2017. Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — Homeowners and the city will split a 50-50 cost this year to repair sidewalks in front of their homes under a popular city program.

The city had been considering an increase in the price to $16.50 per square foot — up from $10 per square foot — for residents who participate in the sidewalk program that’s been offered for years.

But City Council members on Monday agreed to keep it a 50-50 split for what homeowners will pay under the program, not the 75 percent that was discussed in November.

The city’s portion of the costs will be paid for through a $300,000 bond approved by the council. Repairs will be completed this year from 110 to 349 Winslow St.

During a discussion Monday night, council members also agreed that only single-family and duplexes are eligible for the 10-year financing. Owner/occupants of three-unit buildings also will eligible but only if the owner can prove that they live on the property.

Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith, who was on the City Council 20 years ago when the program first began, wanted the 50-50 split because it makes it more affordable for participants.

Under the program, residents will be charged a maximum of $3,000 per property for those properties that are located at intersections. Other residential and all other properties aren’t covered under the sidewalk program.

Residents have 10 years to pay back the city for the sidewalk work. Homeowners also have the options of hiring their own contractors to fix their sidewalks or do it themselves.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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