Lafayette residents balk over costs to repair curbs and gutters
By Nick Marnell
In front of his home, John Sallay of Silverado Court points out part of the curb and gutter that he needs to rebuild. Photo Nick Marnell
Lafayette residents lashed out at the city council Feb. 13 over the requirement that property owners pay for curb and gutter repair in front of their homes before the city begins its road construction program in April.
"As part of the planned construction, damaged, severely cracked, sunken or uplifted sections of concrete curb and gutter will need to be repaired. Per Section 8-123 of the Lafayette Municipal Code these repairs are the responsibility of the fronting property owners," read a letter from Lafayette senior engineer Matt Luttropp provided by John Sallay, resident of Silverado Court in Burton Valley. Sallay estimated that his portion of the repairs required by the city will cost more than $6,000.
"Why do we have to pay for this twice? Streets are paid for out of our gasoline tax," Sallay argued to the council. "It's unfair. It's an example of taxation overreach
and double-dipping." Furthermore, why doesn't the city grant a senior citizens' discount on the work? Sallay, 85, asked.
Other property owners in the neighborhood pelted the council with similar complaints, pointing out that sidewalks, whose repair and maintenance are required by property owners, do not even exist on some of the streets to be repaved. Whether a sidewalk includes a curb and gutter needs to be defined in the first place, a resident suggested.
Luttropp said in his letter that property owners may hire their own contractors to do the required work but that the job must be completed by April 3. He also advised that property owners inspect their sewer lines, as the cost to replace them will be far more expensive after the city paves the roads.
The council voted unanimously to revisit the city policy Feb. 27 on the degree of property owners'
responsibility for the street paving. The council will look at the trend of repair costs, billing reassessment and negotiating the public's cost as well as any unintended consequences of revising the city statute.
"We want to keep it from being a burden," Mayor Mike Anderson said.