(Memphis) “I had tears in my eyes like I have now and I was cursing. It don’t make no sense,” North Memphis homeowner Mattie Lambert said.
She couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw what the city says it will cost to fix the cracked sidewalks in front of her North Memphis home.
“$1,759.67,” Lambert said.
She only makes $800 a month.
“I can’t pay it. My house note is $693,” she said.
She is one of many people who got mail shock when the city sent notices to people about broken and cracked sidewalks.
Along with the notices, some got warrants to show up in court, get their sidewalks fixed, or possibly face a lien on their property.
“$1,124.23,” said Charles Howard, who got a warrant too.
He wonders if the city is passing the buck.
“As taxpayers of the city and county I think it’s their responsibility,” Howard said.
“These people were crying, headaches. We have people in depression,” Vicky Moore with Youth United with Senior Citizens said.
She says hundreds of seniors have called her, scared of the warrants and the thought of possibly losing their homes.
“People are already being taxed enough. This is an additional tax, a hardship that they are placing on senior citizens,” Moore said.
Moore’s organization went to court and before City Council with the seniors.
They got a 60-day moratorium on the sidewalk enforcement and lukewarm promises that council members would look for funding to help those who can’t pay for sidewalk repairs, but there are no promises.
“These sidewalks are on city property. They are connected to city streets. We want the city to take responsibility for what they are responsible for,” said Moore.
They are getting some action. The city sent us a response, saying, “The 60-day moratorium will allow the City Council to get more information from the Mayor’s office about how this ordinance will be enforced.”
The city says the estimated cost of most sidewalk repairs mailed out by the city is $6.10 per square foot and in many cases, the property owner’s total cost is around $150.
The two estimates we saw were more than a thousand dollars.