Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - If you live in the city, you pay property taxes, and the assumption would be that those taxes will also pay for new sidewalks, but as it stands right now, the individual property owner is liable for the cost of a new sidewalk, up to $9,000.

Three Missoula City Councilors are planning to challenge that policy at a Wednesday meeting.

I spoke to Ward 6 City Councilor Sandra Vasecka over the weekend about the proposal to have the city pay for all proposed new sidewalks through property taxes.

It's a Rude Shock when a Property Owner gets a $9,000 Bill for new Sidewalks

“I'm very excited to share that Daniel Carlino, Kristen Jordan and I are joining together to present a resolution to defund the sidewalk payment assistance program and to allow the city to fully fund the public right of way costs,” began Vasecka. “We want it to come from the street department and it is going to be very expensive, I know.”

Vasecka expressed the assumption of most city homeowners about the cost of a new sidewalk in their neighborhood.

Vasecka, Carlino, and Jordan want all Taxpayers to fund Those New Sidewalks

“Everyone when they pay their property tax dollars thinks that those dollars are going to fund infrastructure, which includes streets and sidewalks; and everyone is very disappointed and frustrated when they realize that city sidewalks are in purgatory, meaning nobody owns them. They're in the public right of way. So you as a property owner are required to maintain them and you're required to pay for them.”

Vasecka said the city has already made progress in that effort, but not enough.

“We are just trying to make it so that the city pays 100 percent of the cost (of a new sidewalk). I mean 100 percent from property tax dollars. Right now, the sidewalk program has made tremendous progress because it used to be that the property owner had to pay 100 percent of the costs, but now it is capped where a residential homeowner only has to pay up to $9,000 of the costs.”

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Vasecka Pointed out One Family That Could Lose their Home

Vasecka pointed out one couple’s struggle with the city and a proposed new sidewalk in their neighborhood, one they said they simply could not afford.

“There was a couple who came in front of city council multiple times and they were very passionate and very intelligent with their remarks,” she said. “It was just heartbreaking seeing them come in front of Council and yet the Ivy and Franklin sidewalks (project) still passed. They are very scared about losing their home because they can't afford this (new sidewalk).”

Vasecka said that she, Carlino, and Jordan will make their official proposal at Wednesday’s Public Works Committee Meeting, and is asking concerned citizens to either attend in person or via ZOOM to make their views known.

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Gallery Credit: Ashley

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