We’ve been talking a lot about sidewalks in our community lately. In Monmouth, sidewalk repair is the responsibility of home or business owners.    We’ve heard repeatedly about the burden that places on people, particularly those on fixed incomes. Their city staff and council are looking at ways to address that, trying to find a balance between using city money (taxes) and the property owner’s budget.

In Independence, the responsibility to keep sidewalks in good repair also is on the owner of the property that abuts the sidewalk. We haven’t heard too much about it, but last week the council decided the city — the tax payers — would foot the bill for repairs to a sidewalk that a business owner tore up at the end of last year. We don’t know how much that work will cost the city, and neither do city staff, according to what they reported at last week’s city council meeting.

Yes, there will be a lien on the property, so at some point the city may recoup that money. There were notices of foreclosure posted on that building, according to city staff. We couldn’t check what was posted on the building at 240 Monmouth St. because it is fenced off. We did, however, check public records about the property.

An Oregon Claim of Construction Lien was filed on June 13 against the property owner for $129,236.14, according to Polk County records. Another claim of construction lien, by the same claimant was filed on June 10 for $590,622.46.

We understand that Independence is trying to fix an oft-used portion of the sidewalk. It is a safety hazard to be sure. We hope the business owner will step up and repair it on his own dime rather than on the tax payer’s.

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