Supes back enforcement plan for broken sidewalk repairs 

The City is going to start coming after property owners who have let their sidewalks fall into disrepair.

The Board of Supervisors approved on Tuesday a $1.3 million funding request for the Department of Public Works to launch a proactive enforcement program of sidewalk conditions. In the past, enforcement of sidewalk conditions was only complaint-driven.

Plans for the beefed-up enforcement were put in place following Mayor Gavin Newsom’s October State of The City address, in which he called for the improvement of a number of quality-of-life issues, including better sidewalks.

Property owners are required by state and local laws to pay for repairs to damaged sidewalks adjacent to their properties. Repair costs can range from $300 to $20,000. Of the 5,298 city blocks of sidewalks, only 106 are The City’s responsibility, with the rest falling to property owners to maintain.

The beefed-up enforcement with the existing DPW inspectors is expected to begin this March with proactive inspections starting in the Tenderloin neighborhood, according to DPW spokeswoman Christine Falvey.

Property owners will have the option to repair the sidewalks on their own or allow The City to repair the sidewalks and then repay The City directly or as part of their property tax bill. The latter option carries a 12 percent administrative fee.

The $1.3 million allocated by the board on Tuesday in a 9-2 vote will pay for a contractor to repair the sidewalks, a cost The City expects to be reimbursed through charges to the property owners, according to Falvey.

Supervisor Chris Daly, who along with Supervisor Ed Jew opposed the funding request, said that while he supports improving city sidewalks, the funding request did not come at the right time.

"We are looking at about a $65 million budget deficit going into the budget season this spring. I am just unclear as to what cuts are going to offset this additional expenditure in next year’s budget," Daly said.

Jew said he opposed the funding request because DPW does not have clear standards in place to determine when a property owner must make a repair.

IN OTHER ACTION:

LIBRARY HOURS: Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi introduced a resolution urging the Library Commission to add Sunday hours at neighborhood library branches. Fifteen of the 27 neighborhood branch libraries, including seven of the nine branches in southeastern neighborhoods, are closed on Sundays, according to the resolution.

COMMITTEES: Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin announced his assignments of supervisors to the seven board committees. Supervisor Chris Daly will serve for the second year as chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee, which scrutinizes the mayor’s city budget submission and can recommend changes.

jsabatini@examiner.com

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