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Bellaire unveils financial impact of sidewalk propositions

Bellaire unveils financial impact of sidewalk propositions

The start of early voting today means that Bellaire residents can decide on proposed amendments to the city’s charter that would fundamentally change the process of constructing sidewalks in residential areas.

Bellaire residents will vote on propositions A-C, which would require the city to complete a hydrological study and gain approval of 50 percent of property owners in the proposed area at least six months before the construction of the sidewalks begins.

Although the charter amendments do not explicitly state that there would be no new sidewalks in the city, Safe Bellaire, and some members of the city council, said the cost of the propositions and logistical hurdles would deter the city from adopting any new sidewalks.

On Tuesday, Bellaire provided an estimated fiscal impact of the sidewalk amendments, which are “are rather modest in terms of dollars and cents,” Bellaire Mayor Andrew Friedberg said in a recent blog post. However, he said the amendment makes the process more complicated and the city could be required to repeat certain steps, complicating cost estimates.

“In attempting to estimate the anticipated fiscal impacts, it’s impossible to know how much money might be spent on plan revisions, or how many times the process under Prop A, and then Prop B, would have to be restarted with final consideration pushed six months further out each time,” he said.

The estimated fiscal impact found that for Proposition A would cost between $1,975-$5,025 per block. The proposition would amend the charter so that city council would have to pay for an independent engineer not affiliated with the city or the project to conduct a hydrological study six months before the city council could consider the construction of a sidewalk.

The estimates are

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