Public hearing set for sidewalk repairs

By Travis Gulbrandson

The Vermillion City Council approved a resolution of necessity for sidewalk repairs in the Southwest Quadrant at its regular meeting Monday night.

This comes two weeks after a similar resolution was tabled because there may have been an issue regarding public notification.

A public hearing date regarding the repairs also was set Monday for Jan. 6, 2014.

State law requires the city to set a public hearing and to notify the property owners through publication and by mail.

“As you may recall from the last council meeting, there are two actual statutes that govern these sidewalk assessments, and they require different things,” said City Engineer José Domínguez. “One of the statutes requires a single publication and a mailing, while the second set of statutes requires two publications but no mailing.

“We’re going to be doing two publications, and then we’re going to be doing one mailing, and that covers both of the statutes,” Domínguez said.

The council tabled a similar resolution of necessity for sidewalk repairs at their last meeting after several residents raised questions about publication of that night’s public hearing.

Concerns about notification by mail were also voiced, as the city did not use return receipt mail to inform affected residents of the resolution.

The repairs in question stem from a 2010 program under which the city inspected sidewalks for defects.

“These could be trippers or little holes within the sidewalk,” Domínguez said. “All of these items are reviewed, and as long as (they) meet a certain criteria that the council had agreed to … the property owner gets tagged, and we send them a resolution, which has to be published, and the property owners have to be notified by mail of the public hearing.”

Packets with information the property owners may require will be available on the city’s Web site, but owners can also call the city requesting a copy.

“The packets are going to be including contractors that can do the work, the type of repairs that might be required depending on the items that were marked on their sidewalks, and also the city’s specifications and a permit,” Domínguez said.

At the time of the meeting two weeks ago, the cost of all the repairs was estimated at $102,000, along with an administration fee of either eight percent or $50, whichever is greater.

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