City moving to 50/50 split for new, repaired sidewalks

MARYSVILLE Acting on the advice of the administration, City Council has just upped the ante on construction of sidewalks in the city.

City Public Works Director Kevin Nielsen said Marysville hasn't revamped how it deals with the cost of sidewalks since the early 1990s. He added the formula used to figure the cost of sidewalks to homeowners often was referred to as a 50/50 program.

"It wasn't truly a 50/50 program," Nielsen said.

It is now. Both Nielsen and other officials said the city and property owners would, in most cases, evenly split the cost of constructing future sidewalks.

The rules really came under scrutiny as Nielsen's department began to routinely review and update Marysville's engineering codes. In most cases, the city used to charge property owners $15 per linear foot for new sidewalks.

"It's just not reflective of the cost to the city," Nielsen said.

"It was a really good deal," added City Councilman Jeff Vaughan. "It's now a fair deal."

Like Nielsen, Vaughan said the change reflects the rising and actual cost of sidewalks.

So how much will new sidewalks cost a property owner? Nielsen said that in general final costs are going to depend on a number of economic factors. But he also said now might be a good time for those wanting sidewalks to take action. For major projects, the city bids out sidewalk work to a private contractor.

"Right now is a pretty good bidding climate," Nielsen added and the city just approved a new contract. One thing residents might want to keep in mind is that contract only covers a certain amount of work. Essentially, the new cost splitting is done on a first-come, first-served basis.

According to Nielsen, property owners are generally the ones initiating construction of new sidewalks in the city. He said 70 percent to 80 percent of the new walks put in place arrive at the request of homeowners.

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