The two Lantana Fresh Water Supply District boards discussed at their joint meeting in September a proposal to modify their policy for sidewalk maintenance in an effort to cut down on frivolous repair requests and possibly save the district money.
Lantana foots the entire bill for sidewalk repairs that constitute a tripping hazard unless the damage was caused by a street tree, in which case it is the resident’s financial responsibility. If the request is not determined to be a hazard, it is not repaired.
A tripping hazard is defined as a vertical change of over one inch at any joint or crack, according to Lantana General Manager Kevin Mercer.
Mercer said the districts receive 30 to 50 sidewalk repair requests per year from residents but only 10 percent are actually warranted. He recommended that some of the financial burden be shifted to homeowners, similar to what the City of Irving does.
Irving pays half of the cost to replace deteriorated or broken sidewalks. The other half must be paid by the property owner.
Once a year, Lantana contracts with a paving company to perform concrete repairs on roads and sidewalks within the community. A typical sidewalk repair job costs the district between $300 and $400 per five-foot panel.
This past June, 650 square feet of sidewalk removal and replacement was completed. As the community ages, maintenance costs will also inch up.
After a lengthy discussion among board members, a motion was made to give residents who request repairs not deemed as hazardous the opportunity to share the cost 50/50 with the district. The district would still fix sections of sidewalk that are defined as a tripping hazard at no charge to the homeowner.
Both boards voted 4-1 to change the policy, with #6 board member Max Miller and #7 board member Andrew Kloser dissenting.
“At the end of the day, the district is going to have to look at the sidewalk regardless and they’re going to get the same 50 phone calls. So on 40 of them, if they call back and say ‘your sidewalk doesn’t meet our criteria, we will happy to replace it but we’re going to share the cost 50/50,’ I think on those calls, 38 of them will say never mind,” said FWSD #6 board president Kurt Sewell.
Members of the Lantana Safety Committee inspect the community’s sidewalks once a year and submit potential trouble spots to Mercer, who sends a district employee out to inspect the areas.
“When we get a call about a trip hazard, we will go out and if it does constitute a trip hazard, we will put the cones out and mark off the area for repair,” said Mercer.
Residents can contact the district to report sidewalk hazards at 940-728-5050 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.