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Hagerstown offers help for sidewalk repairs

Low- and moderate-income families could be eligible

Low- and moderate-income families could be eligible

November 30, 1999|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN ? Many Hagerstown residents aren't aware that the city has a program designed to take some of the financial sting out of sidewalk repairs.

City Community Development Manager Larry Bayer on Tuesday told the City Council that only three people used the program in the last year.

Residents older than 65, and low- and moderate-income families are eligible to participate in the program, which is funded with Community Development Block Grant money, he said. People can get low-interest loans, usually ranging from zero interest to 6 percent.

Bayer said the program specifies that senior citizens are eligible regardless of their income and can defer payment on the loan until they sell their property.

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John Lestitian, the city's director of code administration, said sidewalk citations generate more emotional response than any code-related issue. Lestitian, Bayer and Assistant City Engineer Jim Bender discussed with the council ways to improve upon the existing sidewalk program.

Bayer said that when a resident is cited, it is his or her responsibility to hire a contractor to repair the sidewalk.

Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer said the city should consider hiring a single contractor to do sidewalk projects citywide, while maintaining the resident's right to hire a contractor at a lower price.

Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh suggested ? as she has at previous council work sessions ? that instead of appropriating about $455,000 to help pay for widening sidewalks downtown, the council should have issued that money to homeowners to repair their sidewalks.

Lestitian, Bayer and Bender said they would continue trying to find ways to improve the city's sidewalk policy.

Following are maximum income guidelines for eligibility for the City of Hagerstown's sidewalk repair program:

· $35,900 for a one-person household

· $41,050 for a two-person household

· $46,150 for a three-person household

· $51,300 for a four-person household

· $55,400 for a five-person household

· $59,500 for a six-person household

· $63,600 for a seven-person household

· $67,700 for an eight-person household

Senior citizens may participate no matter their income.

For more information, call Larry Bayer at 301-739-8577, ext. 134

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