In an effort to strike a compromise with residents, the San Carlos City Council agreed to share 50 percent of sidewalk repair costs with property owners and budget $60,000 per year toward these projects at their meeting Monday night.
The council’s unanimous approval of the cost-sharing policy follows previous discussions of the role the city should play in funding the repairs, for which residents had been paying.
Florence Nixon, a 30-year resident of San Carlos, said the city should have sufficient resources to pay for the repairs from the revenue generated by recent development projects and the significant amount in taxes San Carlos residents pay to support programs shared with all residents.
“I am troubled that the city doesn’t seem to want to support and participate in the cost of repairing very badly needed work on the sidewalks around here,” she said.
At the council’s Feb. 27 meeting, councilmembers discussed sharing costs with residents, as well as changes to how repair projects should be identified and addressed, but ultimately voted down the cost-sharing discussion. The changes councilmembers approved included an increase in the sidewalk repair threshold to three-quarters of an inch of sidewalk displacement from one-quarter of an inch while advising city staff to stop visibly marking areas in need of repair. When it came up for final review Monday, staff brought forward additional options for how costs could be shared with residents.
Vesna Obradovic said she didn’t think the city’s approach to repairing sidewalks made sense, and urged city officials to look at other alternatives to responding to needed sidewalk repairs. Until now, repairs have been driven by resident complaints, to which staff have responded and recommended residents either hire a contractor or authorize the city’s contractor to make needed repairs.
“I don’t think homeowners should be paying this on their own,” she said.
Councilman Ron Collins offered the motion to adopt the changes the council already approved and share 50 percent costs with the owner with an annual cap of $60,000.
“I don’t mind having a 50/50 repair program if we could afford it and before it was always an open-ended number,” he said.
Collins said how much the city spends on the repairs could be reviewed each year, and also suggested the city roll over any unused funds into the next year.
Though Vice Mayor Matt Grocott had previously advocated for the city to take full responsibility for the costs, he agreed Collins’ motion struck a compromise on the issue.
“I can go with what he’s talking about just to get us somewhere,” he said. “I agree with the speakers it should be 100 percent with the city.”
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102