Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Neighbors Working Together to Improve Our Coummunity

Last night's City Council meeting showed why we live in such a great City.

Thanks to the leadership of local residents working with our City Public Works Department, a new program to help owner save $2000-$3000 on their sewer lateral replacements was approved by the City Council.  I was proud to support this community effort to make home improvement easier for more of our neighbors.

Sewer laterals are the pipes that connect your home sewer system to the "main" sewer line that runs down the middle of the street.  In San Mateo, the average home was build in the late 1940's after World War II, meaning that for most of us our sewer laterals are well past the end of their useful life (My own sewer lateral was replaced in 2005 after many, many visits by local plumbers!)

The City had previously had an ordinance that provided courtesy maintenance for homeowners whose sewer lateral was blocked where the line ran under the sidewalk or street.  While this ordinance helped some homeowners save on maintenance costs, there were two big problems with this ordinance: 

  1. Only about 17% of homes in the City were eligible for this program due to requirements on the types of sewer lateral a home had. 
  2. The ordinance did not address the pressing need to replace aging infrastructure.  
On their own initiative, members of the Sugarloaf Homeowners Association approached the San Mateo Public Works Department to voice their concerns.  Working with City Staff, these resourceful neighbors helped craft a new program that was approved by the City Council last night.  

Under this new program:

  1. Homeowners will be able to obtain free video scoping service when there is a problem with their lateral line. 
  2. If the lateral line is defective, homeowners will be able to apply for up to $2000 to $3000 to cover the costs of a lateral replacement.  Best of all, this money comes from fees paid by the City to the State help reduce sewage overflow in the Bay.  The State allows the City to apply those fees to help homeowners improve their sewer systems. 
  3. The City also helps homeowners by providing a list of approved contractors to do the work, or the homeowner can select their own contractor and still apply for the $2000-$3000 reimbursement for the work.  
While I voted to approve this innovative effort, I can not take any credit.  The credit goes to the residents of the Sugarloaf Homeowners Association and our City Staff who worked long hours to make this new ordinance a reality.  This cooperative spirit is yet another example of why the City of San Mateo is a great community to live in!  

To view details of last night's meeting and the program, click here.  

No comments:

Post a Comment