City, property owners to split repair costs
By Bert Lehman
The city of Clintonville and the property owners affected by the sidewalk issue on Ninth Street have reached an agreement on financing the required repairs to make the sidewalk safe.
The Clintonville City Council approved the agreement after meeting in closed session at a Nov. 8 council meeting. The city would not release the agreement until all parties signed it.
The Clintonville Tribune-Gazette obtained a copy of the agreement from the city last week. The agreement is officially between the city of Clintonville and The Don Smith Condominium Owner’s Association. Sue Aschliman and Sandy Bruette are the two business owners who signed the agreement on behalf of the Owner’s Association.
The agreement acknowledges that the sidewalk issue on Ninth Street is a public safety issue, but is complex in nature because of the costs and uncertain legal outcome, requiring the city and property owners to find a mutually acceptable solution.
It also states that city ordinance specifies that property owners are responsible for sidewalk repair and maintenance, but it is unclear if that would include eliminating vaulted sidewalks, like the one on Ninth Street.
The agreement also acknowledges that the city contracted with MSA Professional Services (MSA) to inspect the properties and make a recommendation to correct the issue. It states the city wants to act on MSA’s recommendation.
Because of the cost of the recommended solution, the city and property owners agree the cost “exceeds the normal sidewalk repair and replacement contemplated by the ordinance.” Also because of the cost, the city and the property owners agree that if the property owners are required to make the proper repairs without financial help from the city, it “might result in litigation of novel issues which would be time consuming and expensive, and leading to uncertain results.”
With the uncertainty, “the parties agree that the most efficient and equitable way to approach the vaulted sidewalk solution is to allow the city to take the lead on the construction and the parties cooperate in the costs of the project.”
The agreement calls for the city and property owners to proceed with the recommendation from MSA to fix the issue. This includes utility adjustments, a new basement wall, fill-in of the vaulted area between the new wall and the current outside basement wall, and the new sidewalk.
The cost of the estimated $65,000 project will be split between the city and the property owners, with each party responsible for 50 percent of the cost.
The property owners will pay their portion over a 10-year period with one installment per year. The rate of interest charged on the unpaid installments will be 2.4 percent unless the city’s interest rate for financing the project exceeds 2 percent, in which case, the interest rate will be .4 percent over the rate actually charged by the city. There is no prepayment penalty.
The agreement also stipulates that the city will manage the project, including financing, design, bidding and contracting.
The repair project is scheduled to begin this year.