Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Reimbursement on Sidewalks Unlikely Residents Paid for Repairs before City Adopted Payment Program

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Reimbursement on Sidewalks Unlikely Residents Paid for Repairs before City Adopted Payment Program

Article excerpt

Crestwood residents who expected the city to reimburse them for sidewalk repairs completed before May could be out in the cold.

Residents Tom Hirlinger and Virginia Suda went to a recent meeting of the Crestwood Board of Aldermen to ask the board to reimburse them for repair and replacement work last year on the sidewalks in front of their homes.

A program approved by the board this spring calls for sidewalks needing "high-priority" repairs to be replaced at no cost to the owner. Owners who repair lower-priority sidewalks would be reimbursed for 50 percent of the cost. High-priority repair work began in May.

Crestwood has begun a pilot program that pays for the removal and replacement of trees causing the high-priority sidewalk damage.

Hirlinger had five slabs of concrete sidewalk replaced in September. He said that the work included the removal of a tree. Suda had four slabs of concrete replaced last October.

In past years, Crestwood has had programs that helped residents pay for sidewalk repairs. Hirlinger said that he had called City Hall several times to see whether Crestwood again would offer such a program. Finally, after having the sidewalk fixed, he asked Mayor Pat Killoren whether he could be reimbursed.

"The mayor said to save my receipts," he said. "She didn't make me any promises."

Killoren was absent from the meeting.

Suda said that she had asked the Public Works Department about having her sidewalk fixed. The department rated her sidewalk as a low-priority job.

Suda said that she went ahead with the repairs after seeing a boy fall off his bike after hitting an uneven spot in the concrete.

City Administrator D. Kent Leichliter said that according to the Public Works Department neither sidewalk would have qualified for the high-priority repair program. Under the 50 percent reimbursement program, Suda would have been entitled to $112.50 and Hirlinger to $187.50.

However, after checking with City Attorney Shulamith Simon, Leichliter found that Crestwood lacked the legal authority to reimburse property owners for work contracted and paid for before the current program was approved.

Hirlinger protested that it was unfair for him to pay for sidewalk work when the city was now footing the bill for sidewalk and tree replacement. …

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