Council Policy 200-12: Sidewalk Maintenance Policy, essentially forces property owners to pay for permanent repairs to damaged sidewalks in most instances. Consequently, very few sidewalks are actually repaired every year, but the City is held liable by the courts if someone is injured. In short, the approach taken by the City on this issue, in particular the 50/50 matching program, has not been effective and needs to be changed. In March, I released a memorandum (attached) requesting input from the City Attorney regarding how best to revise Council Policy 200-12 in order to shift the cost of maintaining sidewalks back to the City except in cases where it has been determined that an abutting property owner, or third party, damaged the sidewalk themselves. I also believed it important to include language that stated that if the City is made aware of an unsafe sidewalk condition, the City should replace that section of the sidewalk within a specified period of time, instead of only patching it with asphalt, which quickly deteriorates.
Attached is my proposed revision to Council Policy 200-12. I have consulted with the City Attorney’s Office on the proposed changes and I believe that they accomplish the goal of ensuring that the City has the main responsibility of maintaining sidewalks. As such, I would request that these revisions be docketed for discussion at the Rules Committee so that we can move forward in adopting the needed changes to address the currently flawed policy. Thank you for your timely response to this matter.