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MURRAY AIMING TO CURB RESIDENTS' REPAIR COSTS

Murray residents will find a kindler, gentler City Hall making curb, gutter and sidewalk repairs easier and 50 percent cheaper, starting today.

The old program, which ended last week, limited the city to merely removing broken curbs, gutters and sidewalks to prepare for placement of new concrete, said Jack DeMann, executive assistant to the mayor. Property owners were required to pay for the pouring of new concrete.The new policy, however, allows Murray to pick up as much as $300 in repairs - half the cost of new concrete, as well as the cost of removing broken and defective curbs, gutters and walkways.

"(This new policy) is designed to handle areas where there are broken, damaged sidewalks, sunken curb and gutter repairs to be made. It gives citizens throughout the city the opportunity to get those things taken care of," DeMann said.

The City Council has allocated $50,000 to the program for fiscal 1996. Residents who need repairs should sign up in Room 200 at City Hall between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sign-up will be complete with the purchase of a $10 construction permit. Projects are done on a first-come, first-serve basis. However, attempts to package jobs that are close to one another may cause some delays.

Emergency jobs - those that compromise safety - will be funded individually on a case-by-case basis. They may receive priority, but are still subject to the $300 cap.

DeMann said the increasing cost of concrete and the city's desire to help residents maintain property is at the heart of the new policy. Public Works Director Charlie Clay approached Mayor Lynn Pett with the idea during budget hearings in the spring. The council approved the measure a few months ago.

"This is something we've always done at some level, sometimes for less (than $50,000). It's been in effect for . . . at least 10 years," DeMann said. "We simply felt that with additional costs for getting problems taken care of, the city would offer to be of a little greater financial assistance."

DeMann didn't recall any citizen complaints about the old policy, but he added that Murray is now more in line with what most other cities are doing.

So far, 29 residents have signed up to participate in the replacement repairs program, a public works employee said Monday.

DeMann, though, isn't sure the money will last until June 30, 1996.

"(The projects) vary so greatly. Some are small, some are extensive," he said. "It usually doesn't last a whole year. It helps us get caught up."