In my continuing review of Selma ordinances, I found one that just "chaps my behind". The town supplies side walks upon which pedestrians have the ability to tred. I have one in front of my house. The condition of the sidewalk is horrendous. That is not my fault, it is the town's. And to fix it, it appears that the town wants me to pay for it.
Sec. 14-47. Petition for street or sidewalk improvements.
A petition for improvements signed by at least a majority in number of the owners of property to be assessed who must represent at least a majority of the lineal feet of frontage of the lands abutting on the street or portion thereof to be improved will be required. One hundred (100) percent of the cost of the improvements shall be assessed, not including the cost of improvements made at street intersections, and must be so stated in the petition. Petitions are valid for two (2) years after certification only unless seventy-five (75) percent of the estimated cost to be assessed shall have been deposited with the town. At the end of the two-year period a new petition must be presented.
There is more to this ordinace, which you can look for on your own. I have the remainder of it that I could copy and paste, but want to conserve space.
The town planted trees along the sidewalks years ago, probably before I was born. The sidewalks in my area are concrete slabs laid end to end. The walking surface is uneven because tree roots have grown under the sidewalk and buckled the concrete slabs or moved them. This is a safety issue that has boggled my mind for a few years now. I have seen people trip on the uneven sidewalk. I have done so, myself. It is not just in front of my house. We have been known to walk around our neighborhood, especially in the cooler months. The sidewalks all over are horrendous.
If someone trips and injures themselves on our decrepit sidewalks, all it will take is a motivated, intelligent lawyer to really ruin the town's day, so to speak. If we have a known hazard and do nothing about it, the town is opening up itself to liability. That is just plain inviting problems.
If I petition the town for a sidewalk repair, according to ordinance, I will be assessed the cost of doing so, even though the sidewalk is NOT my property nor liability. My property ends before the sidewalk. Yet, I mow the town's right of way along the sidewalk, often trim and try to edge along the sidewalk, and even trim the tree that grows branches that hang in the way of the sidewalk. None of those are my responsibility, but I do so since it is adjacent to my own property. It also makes my property look better and makes life easier on me. I also rake up leaves that fall on my lawn as shed by the town's tree. All property owners should do the same.
However, because a town owned tree buckled a poorly designed sidewalk the town installed, I should not be assessed the cost of the improvement. It is the town's own liability and self interest that should govern here. I would rather see the town spend the money on sidewalk improvement for the sake of safety and liability prevention than on building more parks, more library space, and the like. This is a "no brainer" for anyone who can rationally think. Maybe I am biased by my safety training and personal pedestrian activity. Maybe not. I have a background in health and safety. I have dealt with sidewalk issues, safety hazards, and fire codes for a living. Part of that job was risk avoidance, which is what I am talking about here.
One thing for certain is that if I am going to pay for a sidewalk, then I should be allowed to call it MY property. That means that if I want to install a toll plaza on my sidewalk, I should be allowed to charge a nickel or a quarter for every pedestrian that crosses my sidewalk, since I am the one paying for it.
To put a lien on my property for improvements made to city sidewalks that I do not own is immoral and should be illegal.