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Los Angeles Has Millions Of Dollars To Fix Our Crappy Sidewalks It's Not Spending

Watch out! (Photo by Atwater Village Newbie via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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It's halfway through the fiscal year and so far, the City of Los Angeles has failed to spend any of the planned $27 million set aside for sidewalk repairs.Last year, L.A. officials decided they would spend $27 million fixing the City's busted sidewalks, the L.A. Times reports. According to the Bureau of Street Services, about 40 percent of L.A.'s 4,600 miles of sidewalks need to be fixed or replaced. That $27 million likely won't even come close to fixing all the broken sidewalks, but hey, it's a start, right? Well, no, not if you never start.

At a meeting on Monday, finance officials requested that the money be made available to city departments so that it could be spent. This request is the first step the City needs to take to begin sidewalk repair. Given that the fiscal year for the City of Los Angeles begins in July, Councilman Paul Koretz wanted to know why this request hadn't come in then, but rather half a year later. Councilman Paul Krekorian said he was, "astonished and disappointed."

According to City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, the City stalled because of an ongoing lawsuit in which disabled residents had argued that the broken sidewalks were blocking their access. So, because of a lawsuit about broken sidewalks, the City has not taken the first step it needs to take to fix sidewalks.

Santana said that part of the reason for this is that spending the money might add to the City's liability, but also admitted that he couldn't really explain this any further as the City was still working on a settlement. He did note that these negotiations had now passed the point where the money would be an issue.

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This same issue held up sidewalk repairs last year. $10 million was budgeted, but the City only spent $3 million by June. Krekorian said then that the city didn't have a clear plan for how they were going to go about fixing the sidewalks, KPCC reports. However, the same lawsuit was also causing delays then as well. The City ended up taking until April to approve a plan, which left them little time to spend it all before June 30.

Krekorian, along with Herb Wesson, motioned that the extra $7 million be designated for sidewalk repair next year, along with an extra $20 million. This sum would be called the "Sidewalk Repair Trust Fund." That's the money that still hasn't been spent today.

The committee did vote yesterday to make the money available, as well as create new positions to carry out the repair process. Meanwhile, our sidewalks still suck. In the past five years, NBC learned that there have been over 1500 claims from people injured themselves on L.A.'s broken sidewalks and wanted the City to pay their medical bills. Los Angeles had only paid four percent of those claims.