Sidewalk Project Could Save Rafkind Road Residents Thousands
Council continues discussion on assessment project.
As the Bloomingdale Council continues to mull whether to complete a sidewalk repair assessment project on Rafkind Road, several affected neighbors attended Tuesday's borough council meeting to hear more about what would be entailed.
The project is being considered as Mayor Jonathan Dunleavy said much of the street's sidewalks are in disrepair. Bloomingdale has received a $200,000 state Department of Transportation grant and will be contributing $325,000 to the project for paving and curbing. The total estimated cost of the project, should the borough decide to move forward with the sidewalk assessment portion, is around $825,000. Rafkind Road residents would be asked to repay the cost of the portion of their sidewalks they would be responsible for as assessed by the borough engineer.
On average, this would mean a cost of about $4,800 for a Rafkind Road homeowner with 100 feet of frontage on their property.
Rafkind Road resident Tom Tracey said he was not sure whether he was for or against the project but had questions about his property, specifically. He asked when the borough engineer would be able to visit his property and assess how much he would owe, and Dunleavy replied that assessments would be done only if the council agrees to move forward, which could happen some time in April.
"The decision of moving ahead would already be made," the mayor said.
The initial decision would be to move ahead with a bond ordinance for the project, which the council will be voting on after a public hearing at the March 26 meeting.
Regardless of how the council decides on the assessment project, Dunleavy said the borough would be moving ahead with the curbing and paving. But considering the condition of the sidewalks, he said it would only make sense for the sidewalks to be repaired at the same time.
"I would say 90 percent of Rafkind's sidewalks need to be replaced," he said. "They're awful."
While the residents would be responsible for a portion of the costs, they would make payments to the borough which would be financed at 1 percent for 10 years.
"We're not asking for it up front. We want to help you out," Councilman John D'Amato told one resident.
Last month, the council held a special meeting to kick off discussion on the project. But out of the 61 affected families, only a handful of residents attended.
"I was very surprised as to the lack of Rafkind Road people," Tracey said.
No residents seemed to speak against the project on Tuesday, but one noted that whereas his sidewalk would likely cost close to $4,000 to repair in the project, his insurance company had told him he would need to fix the sidewalk regardless and other companies that quoted him said the repairs would cost more than $6,000. Officials assured residents that the borough's rate and cost would be lower if the project moved ahead than they would be offered through a private company.
"It looks like it's just a great project," resident Mark Rooney said.