With numerous sidewalk slabs uprooted by borough trees, River Edge officials and administrators are now split between how to proceed with funding the replacement costs.
The borough currently has an ordinance in effect that places the burden on homeowners to pay for the replacement but much of the damage was caused by borough shade trees resulting in council members questioning to fund the repairs through the capital budget.
"I'm not in favor of charing residents to replace sidewalks that were damaged by one of our trees," Councilman Alphonse Bartelloni said. "It's not right to hit our citizens who are already paying after having a tree fall on their yard or house with the additional cost of sidewalk replacement. I'd like to see about adding it to the capital budget."
A recent meeting with the Riverside Cooperative yielded zero interest in a joint bid for sidewalk repairs, although Borough Administrator Alan Negreann stated that New Milford is in the process of seeking cost estimates for the replacement of 66 sidewalk slabs. So far, New Milford has recieved an estimate of $150 per 4-by-5 slab.
"I would caution the council against creating exceptions that could set precedents that could be used against the borough in the future," Negreann said.
Following Hurricane Irene and prior storms, homeowners have been required to adhere to the ordinance and fund the sidewalk replacements themselves.
For now though the Council has yet to make a decision and will spend additional time discussing how to proceed. The borough is currently waiting on a final list of damaged sidewalk slabs and their locations from DPW Superintendent John Lynch.
The borough will also reach out to New Milford for information on where their cost estimates came from.