Aldermen Ponder Sidewalk Issue

By ERIC X. VICCARO

eviccaro@stegenherald.com

The city of Ste. Genevieve Board of Aldermen had an extensive work session on May 27 covering a myriad of topics.

The session featured talks on the city’s sidewalk assistance program, new street repair specifications moving forward and additional talks on expected future American Rescue Plan federal relief funds.

Ste. Genevieve city administrator Happy Welch asked the aldermen if they wanted to increase the amount of money paid per linear foot for sidewalk improvements.

Currently, residents are responsible for their own sidewalks in this city — unlike nearby communities such as Festus and Perryville where those municipalities maintain the sidewalk.

It was learned during the session the city pays homeowners $3.50 per linear foot for sidewalk improvements.

Cracks and other deformities in sidewalks are currently the homeowner’s burden, too. They are the ones who independently hire contractors. This means different engineers and the quality of work varies.

Community development administrator David Bova noted sidewalks must conform to a certain width — ranging from 42-48 inches wide.

The general consensus among the elected officials was to offer more funding as a means “to encourage” improvements.

There was a need to discuss the sidewalk assistance program now because the city will be formulating the Fiscal Year 2022 budget soon – in August.

They also talked about the feasibility of purchasing the sidewalks and doing away with the rebate program. However, that would mean additional surveying and engineering costs.

Ward 3 Aldermen Mike Raney wondered if the taxpayers should weigh in on this topic, and possibly hold a public forum. There was also the option of forming a subcommittee.

Also discussed were sidewalks at intersection approaches, and whether they are currently in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990.

“The bottom line is we need to do more to encourage sidewalk improvements,” said Ste. Genevieve Mayor Paul Hassler.

In a somewhat related matter, city leaders discussed possible new street repair specifications. Topics discussed were concrete versus asphalt use as well as rebar.

In previous meetings, aldermen have talked about the lack of “like materials” being used for street repairs.