Mpls. homeowner struggles with sidewalk assessment

8:31 PM, Jul 29, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS -- A Minneapolis mother found out that she is responsible for $4,000 in repairs, not to her home, but to the sidewalk in front of it.

Heather Young has lived on Knox Avenue in north Minneapolis for 12 years.

She rents out a home on the corner and lives in another home in the middle of the block. She says it hasn't been easy trying to keep both homes.

"I barely was able to keep my house this past year from going into foreclosure," Young said.

The single mom had recently cleaned out her savings and retirement account to keep a roof over her family's head. She was just getting her finances together when a letter came in the mail from the city of Minneapolis stating her sidewalks needed to be fixed at a cost of $4,000.

"I thought that was part of the city's responsibility," she said.

Mike Kennedy, the city's public works director, says it's actually the responsibility of homeowners.

Each year the city sends out 3,500 to 4,000 sidewalk assessments. By law, homeowners have to foot the bill, but Kennedy says they try to work with residents.

"We try to provide some options to folks with financing the higher the bill," Kennedy said.

For families like Young who can't pay in full, the only finance option available is to have it assessed to your property tax and pay it off over time with 4 percent interest. With bills piling up, Young said she's not sure what to do.

"I don't know how I'm going to come up with that money and then to charge more money for interest, the city should just take off the interest, at the very least," Young said.

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