Last November, at the request of citizens, several members of Council broached the idea of the City providing street sweeping on streets in private subdivisions. The council consulted with the City Attorney and found legal reasons not to pursue this.
First, the State prohibits the use of public funds or benefits for private entities, unless there is a corresponding public benefit. Second, there is a potential risk of common law dedication, which according to the former City Attorney means if you spend many money to improve any private street, that can open the door for the private property owners to claim that the City had accepted responsibility for the streets and now the City would be responsible for maintenance of those streets. Finally, if the City did improve, repair and maintain those private streets, the City might be able to claim them as public streets.
At the June 24th meeting, the Council has asked the City Manager and his staff to determine the costs per Street Sweeping and come back to the council with some numbers and recommendations in an effort to find the best solution for sweeping our streets and alleys. From the data and analysis I made at the time it seemed reasonable to remove the service from the property taxes and provide it as a fee-for service, where spreading the cost over all the users would keep costs relatively low.
Last Monday evening (Sept. 23, 2014) the Director of Public Works and Parks presented a Study Session to the City Council on Street Sweeping. (His presentation can be viewed here.) He proposed a change in policy whereby since Street Sweeping is under the guidance of Solid Waste, therefore all residents and business that pay a solid waste bill shall be entitled to street sweeping in front of their property as per the following recommendations:
• Curbed residential streets shall be swept three (3) times per year between May and October.
• Major Collector Streets shall be swept eight (8) times per year.
• Commercial Area (including parking lots) shall be swept four (4) times per week.
• Multi-Family Housing Streets shall be swept nine (9) times per year.
• School Streets shall be swept eight (8) times per year.
• Alleys shall be swept as needed.
• Bike Trails shall be swept as needed or twice a year
• Pervious Pavement shall be vacuumed twice a year.
The extra cost to add 14 miles of private streets should be small or negligible since the frequency of street sweeping on some streets will be reduced after determining that they did not require the extra sweeping.
The Council has requested that the City Manager prepare a resolution for the sweeping of all City Streets to promote the public purpose of the general health and welfare of City residents at a minimal cost to the residents. That resolution should be on the agenda in the near future.