James Rada, Jr.
(12/27) The Town of Emmitsburg will soon begin making
temporary repairs on the sections of sidewalk that have been the most damaged
In a series of motions during the Dec. 18 town meeting,
the commissioners laid out a plan to try to accomplish about $250,000 worth of
repairs in a reasonable amount of time, yet without causing either tax hikes or
breaking the town's budget.
"There's probably $250,000 to $300,000 worth of work
total so it's obviously going to be more than one year," Emmitsburg Mayor James
Hoover said. "It probably needs to be phased in."
The initial town plan was to have a contractor remove
broken sidewalk, but Commissioner Clifford Sweeney suggested having town staff
remove the concrete and apply a cold patch. This would be a temporary fix to
make the dangerous areas of sidewalk safer.
The proposed town plan also called for the project
being done over three years in three phases. Town Manager David Haller told the
commissioners that each phase would cost around $75,000. The project could be
done in smaller chunks, but it would also take longer.
"If you do 10 trees a year, you knock it off in six or
seven years," Commissioner William O'Neil Jr. said.
However, the longer it takes to complete the project,
the longer the town leaves itself open to liability issues should someone be
hurt because of sidewalks damaged by trees.
"We're liable for the repairs because they should have
been effectuated properly and they were not," O'Neil said.
The faster the project is completed, the larger the
cost to the town.
"I think you would have to lean all other CIP (capital
improvement plan) matters down or we'd have to borrow money," Haller said.
Hoover suggested that road maintenance and park
equipment line items in the CIP could be trimmed to free up money to pay for
the tree removal and replacement project. Board President Chris Staiger also
suggested that some of the needed funds could come from increased property tax
revenues the town tends to receive each year because increasing property
"This is more than a 10-year issue for these
sidewalks," Hoover said. "Sooner or later we're going to have to face it."
The commissioners decided to have town staff make cold
patch repairs to the worst sections of sidewalk now and then next fiscal year
(beginning July 1, 2007) start with the actual repair of the sidewalks. The
commissioners allocated $50,000, at this time, for that use. If the allocation
remains at that amount, it would take about five years to fully repair the
Haller will return to the commissioners with a budget
transfer once it is decided where the funds will come from.
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