CITY OF TONAWANDA — City Engineer Jason LaMonaco requested more funds for sidewalk repairs at Tuesday’s council meeting in order to attend to city walkways that are in the worst shape.
LaMonaco said the money crunch stems from the city’s obligation to fill requests he receives from residents.
”It can become a liability issue,” LaMonaco said. “Once we have a letter and we don’t do anything about it, if someone falls, we can be liable for that.”
As a result, the city has been spending the bulk of the money on written requests, which often are not the worst sidewalks in the city.
LaMonaco rates the sidewalks on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most damaged. The worst sidewalks have the highest likelihood it could lead to an injury, or aren’t accessible for handicapped individuals.
If the city uses the currently budgeted money, it will likely be used up with the written requests and the sidewalks rated as 10s and 9s won’t be fixed.
”Essentially that means no one else is served,” Council President Carl Zeisz said.
So LaMonaco would like an extra $10,000 of capital bond funds for the repairs. That way, he could attend to all written requests in addition to those rated 10s, as a well as a large chunk of the 9s. Zeisz said he wants to discuss the issue with council members before making a decision on the matter.
The city is hoping to hand off ownership of sidewalks — and the responsibility to repair them — to residents and may do so after a home’s sidewalk has been fixed.
”Ironically, that may cut down on the smaller requests we have coming in,” LaMonaco said.
The council also discussed the possibility of opening up Luksin Drive, but Zeisz said the issue is now off the table after council members received feedback from residents since the last meeting.