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L.A. Can't Afford to Fix Your Cracked Up Sidewalks Anymore

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Los Angeles City Council is nudging state lawmakers to oppose a bill that would require them to keep paying for and repairing cracked up sidewalks caused by overgrown city tree roots.

The council unanimously approved a resolution today from Bernard Parks and Jan Perry that puts the city on record against the bill, according to City News Service.

In the early 1970s, the city agreed to pay for sidewalk repairs damaged by street trees when general funding was available. Now that the city is strapped for cash, they want off the hook. City officials estimate that the cost of repairing more than 4,000 miles of sidewalks could cost as much as $2 billion.

The bill would prohibit L.A. from repealing a 1973 law, which requires the city to pay for sidewalk repairs. It would require that the city continue to pay for the repairs from the general fund. It could also prohibit the city from creating special assessment districts to allow homeowners to fix their own sidewalks and foot the bill themselves, but this section could be cut from the legislation.

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Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes called the city council's vote a stance against homeowners.

"We are seeing cities such as Los Angeles among others trying to shift the responsibility for repairing sidewalks caused by tree damage from cities to homeowners. During these difficult economic times, this seems patently unfair," Feuntes told City News Service. "Homeowners were rarely, if ever, the one responsible for planting the trees on sidewalks; therefore, they should not be forced to pay for the damage done to the sidewalks,'' he said.

Taxpayers also pay out $3- to $4 million per year in damages for lawsuits won by people who are injured on broken sidewalks, according to the report.

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