Council, homeowners iron out details in sidewalk repair

Council, homeowners
iron out details in
sidewalk repair

By nicole c. vaccaro

Staff Writer

EAST BRUNSWICK — Residents concerned over the deteriorating condition of their sidewalks now have the chance to make necessary repairs via a special municipal loan program.

Mayor Bill Neary came up with the idea a few months ago after some homeowners complained of tree roots tearing up and cracking their sidewalks.

"We are a shade tree community and cherish our greenery," Neary said, "but some of the [residents’] sidewalks pose a safety threat and that can’t be ignored."

An ideal solution, according to Neary, would be for the trees to be excavated and replanted and new sidewalks put in.

Keeping in mind, however, that such a project could prove costly, the mayor and Township Council proposed a municipal loan program for sidewalk repairs, in which homeowners need only pay approximately 4.2 percent interest over a seven-year tax period.

"The reason we [the township] were able to keep these rates so low," Neary explained, "was by having residents agree to submit their names as a group, which then allowed us to seek a contractor bid for the job.

"It will cost them about half as much as it would if they were to hire an independent company to do the work."

Plus, Neary added, by taking advantage of this loan, the money comes right out of their taxes each year, rather than their pockets up front.

Neary expects more than 100 sidewalks to be repaired this year and even more next year.