New Britain council discusses easing residents' responsibility for sidewalk repairs

Published on Thursday, 23 May 2019 21:10
Written by Michelle France

@MFranceNBH

NEW BRITAIN - Sidewalk repairs were a prime topic of discussion at Wednesday’s meeting of the Common Council.

A resolution proposed by Alderman Aram Ayalon would amend the city’s Code of Ordinances to transfer from homeowners to the city some responsibility for the repair of sidewalks.

Ayalon said that, when he ran for election two years ago, the complaint he heard most often from residents was the poor condition of sidewalks. He expressed concern for the elderly and handicapped.

Ayalon questioned Public Works Director Mark Moriarty on ways to encourage residents to repair sidewalks, while noting that 58% of all towns and cities in Connecticut take responsibility for their sidewalks.

Moriarty said he’s received good feedback on the Cost-Sharing Sidewalk Repair Program recently launched by the city, with 20 property owners contacting the department recently to apply for the program.

“We are going to go into an agreement with a number of property owners,” he said.

Alderman Daniel Salerno said he felt the Public Works Department has effectively responded to the sidewalk issue. He said the city has over 200 miles of sidewalks and the cost for the city to address the problem would be substantial.

“It’s a ridiculous amount of money to address that kind of thing,” Moriarty added.

After the discussion, the council voted to refer the sidewalk issue to the Consolidated Subcommittee.

In other business, city resident Annie Parker addressed council members during public participation, requesting that they be more active in education forums. She said she has been disappointed by the absence of some aldermen at past meetings.

“That was a great chance for us to have a good discussion about education and try and come up with some solutions,” said Parker.

A resolution to accept the 2019 annual consolidated plan for the distribution of funds from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development was amended by Alderman Carlo Carlozzi, who said the agency has made many cutbacks.

“We are a city of lots of needs and not a lot of money,” he said.

He requested the following changes:

n Moving $200,000 from curb ramp construction into the spot demolition fund, increasing the award to $300,000.

n A contingency of more than $5,600 be given to the Lions Club of New Britain’s Warm the Children program, increasing its award to more than $15,600.

n That the New Britain Department of Community Development’s new construction program amount be increased from $233,000 to $300,000 and that Human Resources Agency of New Britain supportive housing for people with HIV/AIDS receive a contingency of more than $41,000.

The council voted in favor to accept the amended plan for HUD programs.

“It’s exciting to see some of these programs,” said Carlozzi. “A lot of these programs are going to be doing good works for our children, the public services and our community.”

Also on Wednesday, the council unanimously accepted the following:

nA request from the Police Department for a budget transfer of more than $57,000 from the department’s annual budget to cover shortfalls in several salaries, overtime and supply accounts.

nThe New Britain Downtown District’s budget of nearly $236,000 for fiscal year 2019-20.

nA request to transfer $100,000 to be transferred to the New Britain Public Library for maintenance if there is a surplus of funds at the end of the fiscal year.

nAuthorization to execute a recycling service agreement with Murphy Road Recycling, LLC.

Michelle France can be reached at 860-801-5087 or mfrance@centralctcommunications.com.



Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Thursday, 23 May 2019 21:10. Updated: Thursday, 23 May 2019 21:13.