City sidewalk improvement initiative met with approval

by Marianne Gasaway

The City of Clear Lake has received about 84 percent compliance in its effort to improve defective sidewalks within the community, but there is still work to be done— or at least scheduled.

In the summer of 2017, the City embarked on a mission to replace 6,000 linear feet of defective sidewalk within the community.  That amount does not include the significant amount of sidewalk constructed in combination with other projects.

“There were 185 individual properties identified and 94 have completed the replacement as required by the City,” reports City Administrator Scott Flory.  “Additionally, 61 properties have obtained the necessary permit and will be replacing their sidewalks in the spring of 2019.  However, there are a total of 29 properties that have either failed to complete the work or take out a permit to do the work in the spring.”

Flory asked the Council last week for approval to send a certified letter to property owners who have non-compliant sidewalks.  The letter will advise the owner that their defective sidewalk will be included in a City project and done under the auspicious of that effort, with construction, legal, engineering and administrative costs all assessed to the property.

“If they missed the first letter, this would give the property owner a chance to comply and not be assessed,” Flory told the Council.  “With this follow-up we hope to lessen the non-compliance number.”

In other city business, the firm of Bohnsack & Frommelt LLP, has completed the city’s annual audit report, as required by State law.

“It was a very clean audit,” Sarah Bohnsack told the City Council. When asked by Council members to characterize Clear Lake’s standing among cities of similar size in the state, Bohnsack pointed to a statement about the city’s general fund.  “There is a very healthy fund balance.  You have the ability to fund projects and its flexibility protects you in a rainy day situation.”

City Administrator Scott Flory said the City does not do much borrowing, but if it did he would estimate Clear Lake would receive a AAA rating.  The City has used only $2.6 million of its $46 million debt limit.

Flory, along with Mayor Nelson Crabb and Council members thanked all department heads for staying under budget this year, helping to keep the city in balance.

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