By Betsy Dolan
Last year’s historic drought damaged such a significant number of sidewalks throughout Sugar Land that a backlog of complaints have piled up at the city’s Public Works Department prompting them to ask the City Council to amend the Fiscal Year 2011-12 budget to free up money to make the needed repairs. The council unanimously approved the amendment at their July 3 regular meeting.
Mike Goodrum, the Director of Public Works, told the city council that his department typically budgets $500,000 for sidewalk repairs every year but that amount will not be adequate to repair the 220,000 linear feet of “trip hazards” identified in a city-wide assessment earlier this year. Of the damaged sidewalks, Goodrum said, three-quarters were classified as Priority 1 or 2 indicating the need to replace entire sections due to hazards measuring 2 inches or larger. The Public Works Department has already spent $100,000, in part to repair 29,000 linear feet of moderately damaged sidewalks and Goodrum will ask the city council to approve a $400,000 contract at the July 17 meeting that will fix another 21,000 linear feet of more significantly damaged sections.
With the cost of the Sidewalk Rehabilitation Project at $3.5 million dollars, council members were asked to approve an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2011-12 budget to make an additional $1 million dollars available now. Jennifer Brown, Director of Budget Research, assured the council that the requested funds which would be taken from the FY 2011-12 General Fund Balance and moved to the Capital Projects Fund “was money we already have in the bank”.
“These funds allow us to make continual progress,” Brown said. “Once we award the $400,000 contract we want to be able to immediately move in and bid and award this additional $1 million without having to wait until October when the budget is approved.”
The Public Works Department will be requesting that the $1 million dollar contract be awarded for additional sidewalk repairs at the August city council meeting. In addition the department will ask for another $1.5 million in FY 2013.