City sets up assessment district for overdue sidewalk repair bills

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published April 12, 2016

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EASTPOINTE — The Eastpointe City Council at its regular meeting April 5 unanimously approved setting up a special assessment district to get old bills paid up for sidewalk and driveway repairs.

City Manager Steve Duchane said the district will cover work scheduled and finished going back as far as 2014 where the property owners failed to pay the bill. With an assessment district set up, those people will have 60 days to pay for the replacement and repair work done on their sidewalks; afterward, they will be rolled onto those property owners’ tax bills.

Repairs include fixing cracks and gaps in sidewalks and in driveways that connect to sidewalks, as even a small crack can expand when it gets filled with water, Mayor Suzanne Pixley said.

Duchane said the majority of people who have been billed for repair work have already paid or made alternative arrangements to have the work done, so this should apply to a relatively small number of property owners. Since each case is different, he said there is no universal cost for work on each property.

Some of the work has yet to be done and will be completed in the coming months, Duchane added, due to a particularly hectic construction season in 2015. This particular assessment roll includes properties on Gascony, Tuscany, Nine Mile Road, Donald and Cushing; the city rotates which areas get inspected and repaired each year.

“It is a fairly complex program with a number of properties,” Duchane said. “We have seven districts, and we’ve been off schedule since 2011, when the city put it off due to economic problems, so we’re trying to re-establish the regular rotation we had before that.”

He said part of the reason for the city’s delay is that the city has only one sidewalk inspector, along with anyone the city can substitute. Ideally, Duchane said, this year the city will be caught up on its sidewalk work and bills, and it will be able to get back to its regular rotation going forward.

Councilman John Marion suggested that, going forward, the city post a map of all the districts that highlights which ones will be worked on and when.

“I think it would be good for residents to know when in the cycle they’re coming up, instead of waking up one day with yellow Xs on their property,” Marion said.

Duchane said that a map will be going up on the city website, www.cityofeastpointe.net, in the near future with just that information.

During the public comment section of the meeting, resident Harvey Creech said that preventative maintenance is important for making sure sidewalks do not get into too bad of shape, though he added that the city still contends with cracked parking lots that also get worse over time.

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