This is a Community Announcement written by the City of Ithaca. It was not written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit Community Announcements, please send them to Matt Butler at mbutler@ithacavoice.com.

The City of Ithaca Engineering Division will host a public meeting for the proposed 2023 Sidewalk Improvement District Work Plan and Budget on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Tompkins County Public Library in the Borg Warner conference room. The meeting will also be accessible remotely via Zoom; to get an invitation to this meeting, please email John Licitra at jlicitra@cityofithaca.org.  
 
 The presentation will discuss the proposed 2023 Work Plan and budget. One aspect of the budget is to increase the sidewalk assessment fees to keep with construction costs. 

Over the past 8 years, our sidewalk program has developed into one of our most successful public works activities. However, the effectiveness of the program is being whittled away by increasing costs and flat revenues.  From 2015 to 2022, the sidewalk assessment fee structure has not changed and total fees (revenue) have increased by 3% for a total budget of $890,000.  For the same time period, the contracted price for sidewalk replacement per square feet has increased by 24%.  At the same time, the total number of linear feet of sidewalk work done by contract has gone down. There are many other factors that contribute to how much sidewalk work is done in a year, especially related to the scope of the sidewalk work, and the complexity of work zone traffic control in order to get to the location.  

The current sidewalk assessment fee is based on a few factors. First, if the property is a “low foot traffic lot” (basically a one-family or two-family dwelling), the fee is just based on a basic maintenance fee of $70/year. Alternatively, if the property is not a low foot traffic lot (basically any other parcel, with a few exceptions), the fee is based on three components: a $140/year maintenance fee, the gross square footage of the buildings on the property (currently $0.015/sf), and a frontage fee based on street frontage (currently $30 for every 55 feet of street frontage). 

Based on the various factors that go into calculating the fee for any parcel, there are a number of ways to raise the fee. Staff has considered a few permutations and suggest the following fee increase:

For low foot traffic lots, increase the basic maintenance fee by $10/year, from $70 to $80.

For non-low foot traffic lots:

  • Increase the maintenance fee by $10/year, from $140 to $150
  • Increase the building square footage fee by $0.005/sf, from $0.015 to $0.02
  • Increase the frontage fee by $20/segment, from $30 to $50 for each 55 foot segment along the street

Increasing the maintenance fee for all lots in the SIDs by $10 would generate approximately $53,000/year.

Increasing the building square footage fee by $0.005 would generate approximately $75,000/year. These fees only apply to non-low foot traffic lots.

Increasing the frontage fee by $20 would generate about $115,000/year. These fees only apply to non-low foot traffic lots.

Summing these increases, the proposed fees would generate 28% or just under $250,000/year more, taking the overall annual assessment from about $890,000 to $1,100,000.

The proposed 2023 Work Plan, Assessments, Budget, and an interactive SID Story Map are available on the City’s website;  Sidewalk Policy | Ithaca, NY – Official Website (cityofithaca.org). Written comments will also be accepted. Please submit such written comments to John Licitra at jlicitra@cityofithaca.org or the address above.

For additional information: John Licitra, Civil Engineer Department of Public Works 108 E. Green Street, Ithaca, NY 14850 (607) 274-6534; jlicitra@cityofithaca.org