council wants sidewalks but can't agree on who'll pay
By Liz Lawyer
March 3, 2006 | WELLSVILLE -- The City Council discussed
the possibility of establishing "improvement districts"
in Wellsville in which sidewalks would be required to
be installed in front of all developed property.
Councilman Dick Wells said Wellsville needs an expert
to go through the town and decide which areas should
be a priority for sidewalks. Homeowners would pay the
amount it would cost to install sidewalks on their property,
to be determined by an engineer's estimate, into a town
fund, which the council would control. The council would
also decide what parts of town would be in the improvement
The council discussed whether everyone in town would
be required to pay or only the people included in the
"What if we come across someone who for some reason
would not ever get a sidewalk? Would we still make them
pay?" asked Councilman Ron Case.
Councilwoman Marcene Parker said yes. Some members
of the council said they were concerned about what policy
they should take for isolated homes where sidewalks
would do no good and would probably not be put in.
"We eventually want sidewalks in town, but everyone
should pay for them," Parker said.
Mayor Ruth Maughan said citizens had expressed concern
that if they paid into the fund now and sidewalks were
not put in on their property for several years, they
would be required to pay again for increased cost.
For already developed property, the contribution to
the fund would be collected and whether sidewalks should
be installed would be determined later. However, for
new housing developments, which are required to install
sidewalks at the time homes are built, the council reserved
the right to decide if they wanted the sidewalks put
in or instead have the money that would be used for
the sidewalks contributed to the fund.
"The council would decide if we want the sidewalk or
the money," Councilman Lynn Cooper said. "Once they
pay, they're done."
However, this policy doesn't address the issue of
rising construction or maintenance costs. Tom Maughan
of Wellsville said he would rather put the sidewalks
in himself than pay the town to do it in order to save
"I trust Tom to do a good job," Wells said. "But the
problem is, when you have private citizens do it, someone
might muck it up."
Maughan said his street had irregular sidewalks on
it, with large gaps in between segments of pavement.
Don Hartle, city manager and recorder, said this causes
more of a problem than just inconsistency.
"When they finally meet up with new sidewalk they will
have depreciated and be rotten,"he said.
Yet another aspect of the issue discussed in the meeting
was which side of the road would have the sidewalks
installed. Nothing was decided on the issue during the
meeting, and, as Wells said, the council was "arguing
about hypotheticals,"since there was no official plan
and nothing in writing
concerning the issue.
"If we had a master plan we could say, 'Look, this
is where we're going with this,'" Cooper said. He will
write a resolution about the matter to be discussed
in the next council meeting.
Cooper said Brigham City is going through a similar
process right now, assessing where the best places would
be for sidewalks and deciding how to pay for them.
The council also discussed an application for money
from the Recreation, Arts, Parks and Zoos tax fund to
move a bowery and create a soccer field at Wellsville
Dam Park. Cooper said the project would cost about $5,000.
Parker said she felt moving the bowery, which was placed
in the park by the Wellsville Fire Department, would
make it more accessible and family-friendly.
In other business, the council denied building permits
to a developer until the roads are clear and a generator
is installed. Cooper said for the last week and a half
there have been power outages in Wellsville for a total
of about four hours.