City council discusses sidewalk reimbursement program

A copy of the application for Seymour’s Shared Cost Sidewalk and Curb Program was sent to city council members ahead of Monday night’s meeting.

After discussing the program and having the first reading of an ordinance amending city code regarding the sidewalk program, Councilman Drew Storey suggested tabling the agenda item until the next meeting so he and his fellow councilmen could further review the information. That was seconded and unanimously passed.

That means it will be put on the agenda for the next meeting, set for 7 p.m. March 27 in the council chambers at Seymour City Hall, and residents will have to wait a little longer to see if this is approved so they can apply.

According to the program application, it’s designed to encourage the reconstruction of residential sidewalks and curbs. Not-for-profit organizations also may qualify.

If approved, the city would reimburse $4 per square foot of sidewalk and $25 per linear foot of curb, and the applicant would pay the rest. There would be no application deadline; however, the number of program requests approved would be limited by annual funding.

In the proposed ordinance, $15,000 would be deposited by Clerk-Treasurer Darrin Boas in the new nonreverting fund to be known as the sidewalk fund. It would be under the control of the Seymour Department of Public Works, and all monies received from donations for the construction, reconstruction and maintenance of public sidewalks and curbs would be accepted and deposited into the fund.

All disbursements made from this fund would be for or on behalf of the DPW and used solely for construction, reconstruction and maintenance of public sidewalks and curbs within the boundaries of the city and in accordance with the rules established by the Seymour Board of Public Works and Safety for the Shared Cost Sidewalk and Curb Program.

The disbursements would be made on the order of the board of works to the clerk-treasurer and payable to the applicant upon presentation of proper claims.

Mayor Matt Nicholson said the city has 76 miles of sidewalks, and this $15,000 is a starting point to help residents make improvements. That would go from the general fund to the sidewalk fund.

“If we discover there are a bunch (of applications), we can always come back and ask for more,” he said. “To me, if $15,000 goes in a week, you’re probably going to come back and I’ll ask for $30,000 at least. If $15,000 takes six months, maybe ask for another $15,000.”

If the council approves the program and the ordinance, a property owner would fill out an application, and that would be reviewed by a planning and zoning staff member, who would visit the site to inspect and measure the sidewalk and/or curb.

The applicant would receive a letter from the city via email or mail, and that would include the approximate reimbursement amount and other important information.

If the program’s standard specifications can be met, the applicant would need to hire a qualified contractor or perform the work. The city would be responsible for any curb ramps at intersections and any alley approach work, while the applicant would be responsible for any necessary tree removal and obtaining a permit from the city prior to the start of any work.

Prior to placing concrete, all formwork must be inspected and approved for compliance with city standards and accessibility.

After the work is completed to the applicant’s satisfaction and has been inspected and approved by a planning and zoning staff member, the applicant would pay all contractors and suppliers. The city would not pay contractors or suppliers directly.

Upon completion and submission of required documents, the city would issue a check to the applicant within three weeks.