Reporting a sidewalk hazard
To report a dangerous sidewalk, call (816) 513-1313. The City dispatcher will have an inspector verify the hazard, and if the sidewalk is dangerous, the property owner will be required to repair it. If the City has to contract for the repairs, the owner will pay a special assessment to cover the cost of the repairs.
Repair and reconstruction
What programs are available to repair broken or deteriorated sidewalks in residential areas of Kansas City, Mo.?
There are four ways to reconstruct or repair sidewalks, curbs, and driveway aprons located on public rights-of-way. These are funded with a combination of private and public funds in accordance with provisions in the City Charter and Code of General Ordinances. The current sidewalk programs are commonly named as follows:
- Permit Projects
- City-Wide Annual Repair Projects
- Petition Projects
- Sales Tax Projects
The City Charter prescribes the methods of paying for all public improvements. It also sets forth specific responsibilities for the Public Works Department and defines procedures to be followed whenever any part of the cost of repairs or improvements is apportioned to benefiting property owners and assessments are levied for the work performed.
With respect to sidewalks. curbs and driveways, the Code of General Ordinances, Sec. 64-243, obligates property owners to keep in repair the sidewalks, curbs and driveway approaches abutting their property. The term "repair" as used in this section is deemed to mean whatsoever is necessary for the preservation of such facilities and to render them safe and convenient for the public.
Policy on assessments
Property owners are required to pay for out-of-repair (substandard or condemnable) sidewalk abutting their property no matter what other public funding is allocated for the project.
Public funds always pay for sidewalks and curbs located on corner radii within the intersection as well as any drainage inlet repairs or pavement work to public street.
Sidewalk, curb and driveway repairs for which property owners are assessed are funded from the Revolving Public Improvement Fund. Property owners' payments of special assessments are returned to this fund. The balance of any special assessment may be paid in full at the time of issue or be spread over six years. Deferred payments accrue interest based on the annual rate of 10-year treasury bills.
Individual citizens may replace a sidewalk or driveway apron themselves or with assistance from a private contractor. A city permit must be secured by the persons doing the work from the 18th floor, City Hall. The reconstruction must be performed to meet city standards for grade, materials and installation. The work must be bonded for two years after completion. Information about permits can be obtained by calling (816) 513-2552.
Citywide repair projects
The City-Wide Repair Program enables the city to respond positively to citizen reports of hazardous sidewalk conditions on public rights-of-way. The list of locations addressed by this annual repair program is developed from complaints received for specific locations. Most of the work done in this program is 100 percent assessable to abutting property except for repairs on corners.
The amount of funding available to this program makes it best suited for spot repairs rather than full blocks. Typically the city's annual repair contract includes about 250 locations, mostly on residential streets. Hazardous sidewalk conditions may be reported by calling (816) 513-1313.
Petition projects have all costs paid for by the benefiting property owners except amounts that the City Council may approve as a subsidy, and work within intersections, which is covered by public funds. As provided in the City Charter, assessable costs under the petition are apportioned to property owners using the front foot rule.
After petitions are received, public hearings are held to receive comments from all property owners affected by the project. If the outcome of the hearing results in a decision to proceed, the improvements are constructed, and tax bills are issued to repay the Revolving Improvement Fund monies expended.
Missouri laws were recently changed to create a new method of financing petition-type projects in special Neighborhood Improvement Districts (NID). Under this procedure, which has very detailed rules and requirements, the city can issue bonds to finance the improvements. These bonds are retired from assessments levied upon all property owners within the boundary of the NID. Payments can be spread over longer periods -- up to 20 years, if desired. Residents of the district play a key role in defining the scope of improvements and how the repayment will be apportioned. The NID process requires about four years from the time the district is created until improvements are constructed.
Sales tax projects
Sales tax projects are initiated by the Public Improvement Advisory Committee (PIAC), which receives requests from citizens and neighborhood groups. The PIAC receives project requests from September through November on forms provided for that purpose. This committee also holds public meetings, usually two in each of the City Council districts, to receive input and requests for project funds. Individual projects are selected and funded through the annual city budget, adopted on May 1 of each year.
The sales tax funds are used to pay all costs of curb, driveway and sidewalk replacement except the replacement of any substandard sidewalk, which is assessed to the property owner. Staff estimates provided to the PIAC identify the portion of the costs that are assessable.
Sales tax projects generally cover entire blocks since it is frequently necessary to raise the grade (slope) of the curb or sidewalk to obtain proper drainage and obtain uniform appearance. The sales tax program may also fund special projects for streetscapes, median islands, etc. These can include benches, trash receptacles, decorative pavers, landscaping or other aesthetic elements. Forms for requesting Sales tax-funded projects can be obtained from the City Manager's Office.
The city has four primary ways to address improvements to sidewalks and curbs. The programs are funded with a combination of private and public funds in accordance with provisions of the City Charter and Code of General Ordinances. Individuals can secure permits and repair sidewalks or driveways at their own expense. Groups of citizens may also petition the city to initiate special assessment projects covering larger areas. Requests for public funds in support of curb and sidewalk repairs are made through the Public Improvements Advisory Committee annual budget process.
If you have questions about the programs, please contact the Sidewalk Group at (816) 513-4701.