How residents pay for Clarkston sidewalk construction is questioned

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Clarkston sidewalks are in the process of going through a major reconstruction project. But some city residents aren’t happy with various aspects.

Public Works Director Kevin Poole and his engineers have marked 59 locations throughout Clarkston that needed repair to sidewalks. So far, 47 have complied.

But residents have issues with certain wording in both the ordinance, and how residents are paying for the project.

Kevin Poole, Public Works Director, said the completion of the sidewalk project will be beneficial for years to come. “Maybe this is something that we’ll roll out every spring and fall for the next few years to improve our existing sidewalk.”

He’s also managed to bring the cost of construction down from $12.50 a square foot to $9.00. “We’ve got a very cost effective program and bids for this time around,” he said.

With the current way the ordinance reads, marking or defacing the new sidewalks in any way would be illegal and that has residents worried.

“What do I do with the kids in my neighborhood who are using chalk on the sidewalk,” asked Alice White, Clarkston resident.

Council amended the ordinance to only permanent defacement being illegal. But another resident says there’s a better way to have residents pay, than paying for everything at once.

“Every citizen that owns a home is paying property tax and this needs to come through the budget of the property tax,” said Todd Snarr, Clarkston resident.

Snarr says over eight years, the money can be re-cooped, so residents can get a credit on their property tax.

“I think that’s a really good idea,” said Belinda Lardon, City Councilmember. “Eight years, gives the homeowners time to pay for it. I am struggling with this as well.”

Councilmember Joel Profitt said the city’s current plan is standard. “You would be surprised how many cities are going this exact same route.”

Councilman Skate Pierce also agreed that in the long run, there would be no real benefit to Snarr’s method. “You’re improving property value,” said Pierce. “So that money, essentially in the long run, would just be a wash.”

City Council has approved the ordinance for the project, with Belinda Larson the only member voting against it.

City Council has given the contract for the sidewalk project to McCall Construction. The project is expected to start in the next month, with an estimated completion by August.

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