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City paying $30,000 to fix sidewalks, curbs

October 19, 2005|by DANIEL J. SERNOVITZ

daniels@herald-mail.com

The City of Hagerstown will pay a Williamsport contractor up to $30,000 to repair a short list of the city's sidewalks and curbs damaged by street trees, but members of the council urged the administration to develop a long-term strategy to ensure the city's Public Works Department will one day be able to handle its own workload.

"I think that they need to go back and look at these things," Councilwoman Alesia Parson-McBean said Tuesday during a Hagerstown City Council work session.

City Engineer Rodney Tissue said there is a significant list of curbs and sidewalks in the city damaged by the city's street trees, many of which are in such a state of disrepair that, if they were owned by city residents, those residents would receive citations to fix the damage.

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Much of the concrete was in disrepair long before the city changed its codes in 2002 to assume the responsibility for their upkeep, Tissue said. Due to manpower, cost and public safety issues, he recommended the council award a $30,000 contract to Concrete Central of Williamsport to fix some of the curbs and sidewalks.

"This is really just the tip of the iceberg on this problem," Tissue said. "This $30,000 will only address a small portion of what we have."

The council previously asked the city administration to find other alternatives for repairing the sidewalks and curbs than having to bid out the work to a private contractor, and members of the council said they were surprised Tuesday to see the item back on the agenda for approval next week.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner asked city administration to research the issue and develop a strategy to enable the city's public works department to handle the projects. For the short term, he conceded the projects identified by the city engineer's office are pressing enough that they should be done immediately, and that means by awarding a contract to Concrete Central.

"We have safety issues out there," Metzner said. "How do you tell your citizens that you're citing them (for failure to maintain their properties) when ours are that bad?"

The council indicated it will approve the Concrete Central contract next week but asked that the city administration evaluate the situation and develop a long-term solution. The city agreed to look into the matter.

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