Mountain View Council has recently approved a grant program proposed by Mayor Emilie Mitcham to help repair the town’s aging sidewalks. The goal is to begin sidewalk code enforcement efforts in town, prioritizing the most severely damaged portions, and making funds available to assist residential owner-occupied properties that need it the most.
Those who receive sidewalk code violation notices will also receive a brochure with all the relevant information about the grant program. The program will allow multiple sidewalk repairs to be contracted out and managed by the town, thereby saving property owners the typical fees associated with permits and inspections, and granting those who qualify (based on incomes) to also receive a discounted repair fee. The town’s Public Works Department is responsible for contracting for the repairs.
Eligible residential properties must have a total household income of 80 percent or less of the area median income (AMI) as determined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), with adjustments for household size based on numbers provided as of June 2022.
Annual combined adjusted gross income as reported on Federal Income Tax filing will be used to determine eligibility. For example, a household with one person will qualify for the grant money if they make $62,600 or less. A household with two people will qualify if they make $71,550 or less annually. The amounts for families of three, four, and five are $80,500, $89,400 and $96,600 respectively. The brochure will include the full details along with an application.
Property owners who do not qualify for the grant funds may still participate in the program, saving on permit and inspection fees, however they will be billed for the full cost of the sidewalk repair work itself.
The amount approved by council to be granted for sidewalk repairs in 2022 is $30,000. These funds are available in the 2022 budget and will not impact other work previously budgeted, according to Mitcham.
Mitcham states her goal was to, “simply initiate repairs to the worst of the worst sidewalks, and save the residents some of the hassles and fees they would otherwise encounter if they were trying to manage this work themselves.”
“This will not fix all the sidewalks in town,” she said. “But it will start the process and we’ll learn a lot along the way. The town has not managed resident sidewalk repairs in the past, since this is a property owner’s responsibility, per our Town Code. However, I feel some urgency to get this work done because we all deserve safe sidewalks. So, this is a start.”
Code Enforcement Officer Jake Cooke will be issuing sidewalk violations for the most severely damaged sidewalks, but if residents don’t receive a violation and they would still like to participate in the town work being done, they should contact Director of Public Works Gene Bird to see if they could be included in an upcoming repair contract. Property owners can reach Bird by emailing him at GBird@tomv.org and cc’ing Town Clerk Margy Greer via MGreer@tomv.org so Bird can manage the actual contracted work and Greer can manage the sidewalk repair invoicing.
Questions about code enforcement efforts and the sidewalk grant program can be directed to Mayor Emilie Mitcham at EMitcham@tomv.org.