Paging Personal Injury Lawyers! Sidewalk Repair Solution, Split It

Bridgeport is a city of sidewalks. Walk and talk and balk … when it comes time for repairs. Cracked sidewalks in the city also beckon slip-and-fall lawyers. The city is trying to address the bigger question–who’s responsible for the fix-up? It’s not cheap. The City Council is examining a proposal.

From CT Post scribe Brian Lockhart:

Members of the mayor’s staff this week presented the Council’s Public Safety Committee  with a pilot sidewalk repair program that would, if approved, see the city pay for half of the sidewalk work if the private property owners agree to cover the balance.

Applicants must reside in the location and be up to date on their taxes. For now businesses would not be eligible.

John Gomes, Ganim’s chief administrative officer, said the initiative would be funded using $3 million previously set aside for sidewalks. Seniors and the disabled might receive an additional discount through monies Gomes said have been offered up by various neighborhood groups.

Ganim on the campaign trail last year had pledged to focus on upgrading the sidewalks if elected, though many residents apparently assume the city is supposed to bear all of the costs.

Full story here.

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15 comments

  1. The estimates to replace the sidewalk at 159 Seabright per city code and requirements ranged from $6500 to $3500. Does the plan have a contingency for this issue? In little ole Indiana, the property owner pays in advance of installation for the materials from a list of approved vendors and the city supplies the labor via public works employees.

  2. Juda Epstein’s role working in the “shadows” of Bridgeport/WPCA is a shameful and disgusting situation. Every voter in the upcoming City Council Elections should know about this slimebag and the City’s complicit involvement with him. And I will not forget Charlie Mason and Mid-Town Towing as they make money towing and making money off the car tax boot situation.

    1. Obviously, taxes and WPCA fees due need to be paid. But with the cooperation of the City, these leeches are activated early on in any past-due situations instead of AS A LAST RESORT. The City Council has looked at both the WPCA/Juda Epstein and Mid-Town Towing situations and the Ordinance subcommitee led by CC Katie Bukovsky (sister of Dan Roach) completely capitulated to Flatto, Anastasi, Liskov and Company. DISGUSTING. SHAME on all of them.

      1. Look up the minutes of the Ordinance subcommittee in March 2016 and see how our intrepid City Council members buckled under. This issue also goes back to at least December 2015 when Lydia Martinez began to introduce a resolution that any foreclosure action or car seizure would need City Council involvement.

  3. Lennie, when are you going to do a story/update with O&G’s Seaview Avenue site and O&G’s attempt to move their poison pile to Howard Avenue? O&G has poisoned the people of the East Side for a couple of decades and now O&G wants to equalize the situation by poisoning the people of the West Side for a couple of decades.

  4. Several years ago I researched the subject at the request of the city council, which wanted to know how other cities handled sidewalk replacement.
    I reported a wide range of approaches, often dictated by state or local guidelines.
    One element I found that may work in Bridgeport is for the City to have several contractors who agree to a certain price per square foot which the City and homeowner split. This would not apply to absentee landlords.

  5. I actually think Gomes’ idea is more than fair. I replaced my own sidewalks about 10 years ago, and it was not too bad expense-wise. I did, however, use a contractor family friend who has been a mason all his life. I always thought the expense burden was on the property owner so I never even bothered to check into a city subsidy.

  6. Jennifer, ‘absentee landlord’ refers to the situation where the owner rents the property and does not reside there. It is not owner-occupied.
    I suppose it could be argued an owner-occupied two-family property could be assessed differently than a single-family house because the rental unit is income producing and sidewalk repair is (I believe) a tax deductible operating expense.
    No mention in the CT Post story about research done by the city council. Research? What’s that? Amazing.

    1. Please observe that the Mayor remembers some of his campaign promises. Fixing the sidewalks in the City, hundreds of miles within the City, mainly on residential property it seems. So the Mayor originates a plan to deal with the sidewalks in need of repair. (Potentially saving unnecessary “slips and falls” followed by suits going to court action, some of which get paid by the City in settlement, but we do not know how much, where or when. Information is not shared.)

      Anyway a move to “share” may sound good in this case. How much sidewalk improvement can be accomplished in a year? What neighborhoods are most vulnerable or affected? Once the City knows of a problem they are in a negative position when called into court again, so what mechanism is practiced today to avoid repeat sites of fiscal expense?

      The Mayor also spoke about “stop taxes” during the 2015 campaign for Mayor. What happened? Think what the response might have been if he had offered to share 50% of that expense with taxpayers. Just cut enough from his intro year. Would a 50% cut in tax payment have helped him? Does he own property in the City of Bridgeport? Does he reside in the City? Does anybody know for sure where the Mayor lives? With all the items Av Harris is tasked to tell us about weekly, wouldn’t this question get an answer if it were easy to answer? Is it because I ask the question that it gets NO RESPONSE? Time will tell.

  7. Definitely a good idea. We did the 50% rebate with homeowners with East Side neighborhood housing services in the early ’80s and it worked great.
    This scenario of putting a lien on a property that accrues no interest and only has to be paid back upon property sale is nothing new either. Good program. Council should approve it.
    Also absentee and abandoned properties should be eligible too with a 100% bill. Everyone, mostly poor people would benefit and it would improve property values. Btw, are trees included? They should be!

  8. What is the rule where the growth of a city-owned tree damages the sidewalk? How long does it take for someone from the city to find the damage?

    How long after the damage is found, does it take to get the sidewalk repaired?

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