Middletown is preparing to send out letters to property owners whose sidewalks need to be repaired.
Crews of town employees have been conducting inspections of sidewalks since February, checking for areas that create a hazard for pedestrians.
According to the town code, sidewalks may not have a vertical or horizontal crack or separation of an inch or more, a slope that creates a height difference of two inches or more in a 4-foot area, any hole wider than 3 inches at its widest area, or holes 1 inch or deeper.
The letters will be sent to every property owner in town, likely by the first week in August, said town administrator Drew Bowen.
Property owners whose sidewalks donít need work will be told so. For others, the letters will identify changes that must be made within a year, unless itís considered an immediate hazard. In that case, owners will only have a few weeks to change it. Residents can meet with the town staff for an explanation of what repairs are needed, Bowen said.
The town will reinspect the property after the one-year deadline, and if the repairs arenít finished, the town will schedule a contractor to do the work at the property ownerís expense. If the costs arenít paid, a lien will be attached to a propertyís annual tax bill.
Bowen emphasized that the program isnít intended to make homeowners replace their entire sidewalks, only the sections that need improvements.
The burgess and commissioners discussed the issue at their July 9 meeting, but didnít reach a formal resolution.
Commissioner Jennifer Falcinelli asked that the town put together a packet that could help answer frequently asked questions for residents who arenít familiar with sidewalk construction.
Commissioner Richard Dietrick asked what would happen if someone couldnít afford the cost of making repairs.
That resident could likely set up a payment plan with the town, similar to customers who canít pay their water bills, said Burgess John Miller.
ďWeíre not out to punish anyone here,Ē Miller said.