March 11, 2008


There is a story in the Telegram today, click here, that is pretty interesting. I think that it makes alot of sense. My only concern is the list of contractors and how it would be to get approved? It would seem to me that if you were a licensed contractor with appropriate insurance and bonding then you would approved. In addition why not let the home-owner do the work him or herself subject to inspection.

Lastly how can you reimburse for 50% of the job? I could see alot of fake inflated invoices..... You would need to set a standard like $15 per feet.


Anonymous said...

This more funny money baloney.

My understanding (and check me on this) is that if one wants their sidewalk area which is now grass/dirt newly paved or an existing sidewalk surface re-done that the owner pays 50% and the city pays 50% .....subject of course to the city coming up with the money NOW NOW NOW......and the city did the work or subbed it out to a paving what's the difference??????? .......there's only 1 small difference in the new proposal....ratehr then the city having to come up with the money now to pay its 50% portion...............the city effectively borrows it from the homeowner who pays the entire job upfront....and teh city then repays owner via a property tax reduction over 4(?) years.

So what the hell does the city do over the 4 yr repayment period when it realizes less in property tax collections b/c of this? This financail wizz kids at city hall vannot see even 3-4 yrs dwon the road. So if private homeowners have 8 million worht of paving done in 2008.....the city realizes 2 million per less in property taxes over the next 4 yrs

All the city saves is the possible upfront costs of having to borrow the and pay interest on it

This crap is worse than Cramers Funny Money TV Show.

Another minor problem is there are problably only 2 -3 contractors who do sidewalks in the city.............the reason why........prevailing wage laws for work subcontracted by the city ........all the small drive asphalt peddlers will not get involved in prevailing wage or Responsible Employer Ordiannces B.S.

Speaking of which,,,,,,betwneeen yesterdasy & todays T&G there are 5 letters to the editor re" this Resp. Employer Ord. (REO)(also known as the back door for union/prevailing wages labor rates)
Of 5 letters 4 were pro REO/prevailign wage/union.and 1 was pro "open shop" So much for balance in the Nemeth Newspaper.

I have some otheer beeter ideas for getting these street & sidewlaks paved.......

Of all teh commissions & boards we ahve .......we dont have a streets and sidewalk board.....and its the biggest bone of contention in the city......I wonder why......yet we have all these touchy, feeely Bull++++ commission & boards

Anonymous said...

Kickin assphalt says

Correction a resurface the city pays for 100%........a newly installed side walk is 50-50 split

Anonymous said...

2nd correction .......sorry i just read the article more my example where $8M of sidewalk work is paid by homeonwer......the city would have to back 1/2 or $4M & would lose $1M in property taxes going forward over the payback period of 4yrs

BTW I also hope the term Kickin' Assphalt isnt trademarked....b/c I stole from others

Bill Randell said...

I am missing something. My understanding is that you pay for the whole thing but a get a 50% tax credit over 5 years.

Lets say you have a job done and it costs $5,000. You get a tax credit of $2,500 over 5 years or 500 per year. My concern is that people would get over-inflated invoices from contractors to get bigger rebates.

The city would need to establish standards; for example, $30 per feet so wide and so deep. Upon completing 100 feet per the inspector's approval, the home-owner receives an abatement of $3,000 over 6 years or $500 per year.

Bill Randell said...

Jahn or kickin ass-phalt:

I think this makes sense. I have a section of sidewalk that has caved in with a DPW horse for almost one year.

If I could basically invest some of my tax monies into my sidewalk, I would. The key that the city needs to establish standards as in width and depth then not have just a limited list and a set dollar amount per foot.

If an inspector signs off that is all that is required.

Anonymous said...

Bill, I got this Bass ackwards b/c I am first correction is wrong...I had it right the 1st time.......2nd correction stands....can u wipe out 1st correction .... so as to not cause confusion.........and it's 5 yrs payback......not 4 as I said.....

If I fix 5,000..........then sell my house 2 yrs later.......b/c my commute sux and the city streets are all clogged during rush........then what result??....

I am screwed prob.......or can i tranfer my expemtion if i re-buy in Worc b/c I now like the Worc to Fitchburg to Boston commute....or.......does buyer of my house step into my shoes as re: tax exemption....I doubt it

dont assessments for capital improvements the city makes to a private street, for example, often attach to the preporty deed in cases where home owner owes the city money & it s paid off over say 20 now the reverse will be will owe homeowner in the case of this sidewalk plan.......but I can assure you home owner has no defintie way to collect the full the debt owed him in some of my above scenarios and I amsure others can think of other scearios. e.g. PIP shelter client falls on my new 6 month old sidewalk........I get sued....along with city........w/o regard to any fault of mine the insurance comapny just settles the claim b/c it's deemed a so called "nuisance Claim".....(basically chump change to ins co & not worth fighting at 250$per hr. for a defense lawyer)......and now my howonwer ins. rates doubles

What if am 83 yrs desparate need of a new sidewalk......and I am disabled veteran I already get 2 total tax on my house is 2400....but b/c of vet. & elederly exempuion it's now only 900........will I still be able to use 1/5 of the cost of my sidewalk for the next 5 yrs as an exemption ...............what if sidewalk expt. reduces my tax below zero, can I then use it over a longer period??......what happens If buy the farm 2 yrs after fixing sidewalk..................exemption is lost probably .

I also see this as the camel has his nose under the tent... i.e. next if ya want your street re-surfaced or private street conversion to public ........the city will say ....... we aint got no let's do similar deal for your street re surface (which is now 100% city paid currently)).........or you can go on the 15 yrs waiting list for street re-surface.

Also this notion that today's Moms push baby carraiges on sidewalks is 90% baloney.........what with all the Mothers working in this day and age.......most families with small kids today dont even use their own backyardss let alone push baby carraige on sidewalk..........but sidewalks will be good for the professional dog walkers that many of these people have.........

Anonymous said...

What the council fails to take into consideration and what the city homeowning taxpayer may not realize is that this plan would convert their currently deductible ( for federal income tax purposes) property taxes into non-deductible capital improvements.

An example: City homeowner pays $3000 for sidewalk work. This $3000 reduces his city property taxes by $3000 over five years. Most homeowners are in either the 15% or 25% tax bracket. City property taxes paid will be less for 5 years due to the exemption offered for sidewalk work. The lost federal income tax refunds due to paying less property tax for those who itemize their deductions (which is most homeowners) will be 15% or 25% multiplied by $3000 equaling either $450 or $750. City taxpayer ends up paying $3450 or $3750 to upgrade their sidewalk. I.e. $3000 upfront and $450 or $750 in lost tax refunds.

Massachusetts income tax refunds for elderly home owners could also be reduced by up to $900 if they lose their Senior Circuit Breaker property tax refund in its entirety.

Bottom line is this council proposal will ending costing many and possibly all city homeowners who chose to pay for sidewalk work, 15% to 25% more then the intial upfront sticker price due to lost federal tax deductions and additionally could cost seniors up to $900 in state credits.

Please beware of this Trojan Horse masquerading as great deal for city homeowners.

Bill Randell said...


You make some good points. Wouldn't non-owner occupied owners by able to deduct the entire cost of the sidewalk, or at least depreciate it?

Even still there is an actual value for the improved sidewalk that you can not put a dollar amount on.


Anonymous said...

My reading of the paper today is that this program is for homeowners ONLY are not homes...except for 711 Main St...nor are absenteee owner 3 deckers homes for their owners.........

So once again we have councillors who talk the pro business talk ......but dont walk the walk....frankly...I'd say based on what i read today of new proposed law....that you as a non homeowner in Worc would still be precluded from paying a city approved sub to repair your sidewalk in front of your business property or non owner occupied residence(s)

T&G says ...... it's a HOMEOWNERS program......Nice huh !.......maybe they should at least change it so that non homeowners can at least pay to fix their own sidewalks in front of their businesses or non owner occupied residentail property, of course using city approved contractors.........which I suggest there may be few of b/c of prevailing wage laws or REO laws.........council should exempt this sidewalk repair program from these hinderances......but given that it's city property being worked on is this even possible

What if the city workers complain that sidewalk work that they could be doing is being taken away from them as we are laying DPW workers?

I have a few great ideas where I could dig up lotsa idle city labor that is being paid handsomely........and put them to work doing sidewalk repair....but I wont go there......

Bill where's your favorite Sha-hamber of Commerce stand on this issue? Maybe an e mail to alert them to the discriminatory nature of this proposed homeowners only program would be in order.......seems a bit contradictory that all owners are responsible for clearing snow from sidewalks ....... yet under current law an owner cannot maintain that same sidewalk........even when it's in treacherous condition........

Time see if I can stay awake for Lenos monologue......s/b a hoot tonight {g}

Bill Randell said...


Once again you impress. Are you sure it would not cover non-owner occupied houses?

No lie I have a three decker where about 20 feet of sidewalk is all caved in and crumbled. DPW put up a saw house about one year ago. This winter it was nearly impossible to shovel. I would definately take advantage of this if it were offered.

It is a great idea by Mr Pagano but the stumbling blocks will be 1) authorized contractor and 2) need to set a fixed amount per foot of sidewalk. Think about it. I can use any licensed electrician that I want and the code department signs off. Why shouldn't someone be able to use any licensed contractor subject to the city approving the work.

This is a great idea, but in the end I just do not see it being implemented. I hope that I am wrong but kudos to Mr Pagano!!!