Jefferson City Council Members Debate City Sidewalk Repair
By the end of this summer, the city will have completed a year-and-a-half long survey of the city's 80 miles of sidewalks.
"We're about 70% done with that inventory, so we've made some suggestions on our current cost estimates and there's about 1.1 million dollars of repairs needed for the sidewalks in the city," said Matt Morasch, the City Engineer.
Morasch says about 10% of the city's sidewalks need repairs, and most of the repairs are needed in Old Town, near downtown.
But City Code states that property owners should pay for sidewalk repairs. Council Members are reluctant to enforce this code for public sidewalks.
Second Ward Council Member Jim Penfold says the City Council is trying to find other ways to fund what he calls "The Sidewalk Master Plan".
"The money would either be allocated or appropriated from our general fund," says Penfold. "Which is monies that came in from sales tax and property tax and franchise fees and licenses. Or potentially what we would do is make this an item of what we call the capital improvement sales tax."
The plan also includes putting in new sidewalks for some of the newer areas of Jefferson City that currently don't have any.
Jefferson City resident Amy Painter frequently uses East Capitol Avenue in Old Town. But the cracked and uneven sidewalks force her to take her motorized wheelchair on the street.
"A lot of us don't like taking the bus, or can't afford the bus and so we have to drive in the street among the parked cars and try not to get hit", Painter said.
Council Member Penfold brought up the sidewalk issue in the Budget meeting last Thursday, and the debate will continue in the budget meeting this Thursday.