A couple of weeks ago, Los Angeles city officials decided to further incentivize property owners in effort to get more of the city’s backlog of crumbling sidewalks fixed sooner. The city has increased rebates up to $10,000 to property owners who want fix damaged sidewalks on their own, rather than wait for the city to do it. The city’s previous rebate cap was $2,000 for homeowners and $4,000 for commercial property owners. The rebate program is part of a 30-year-plan, which was created due to a legal settlement, to spend $1.4 billion to make sidewalks accessible to people with disabilities and others who have trouble traversing damaged walkways. Each rebate is actually meant to cover only half of what it would have cost the city to do the repair.
Public Works officials raised the rebate cap after they conducted a survey and determined that property owners would more readily take advantage of the rebate program if the rebate were increased. The city is prioritizing repairs of sidewalks next to public buildings, and any projects that make routes to public transit more accessible. The Board of Public Works has set aside $1.7 million to fund the rebate program this year, and so far the city has received more than 1,100 applications for rebates since the program began at the end of 2016. With the new cap, city officials believe that the average rebate is going to be a little over $6,000, which means the city will be able to issue rebates for about 270 sidewalk projects this year. It seems a bit strange that people will be paid to repair sidewalks by the city, but hopefully the sidewalk repairs increase now that the incentive has been increased.
More information about the program is available at http://www.sidewalks.lacity.org.