You’ve seen these homeowners all over the city. These are the one’s with beautiful lawns, the very nicest building materials and the sharpest looks….
………But the sidewalk in front of their house is a tangled mess of weeds and dirt.
It all boils down to a total lack of understanding of what citizenship means!
The sidewalks, they say, are ‘city’ property and they feel no responsibility to lift a finger to maintain them.
The idea that you live only for yourselves was never considered or tolerated by our Founding Fathers.
Our country was founded on the ideals of a Republic in which each participant has a duty as citizens to contribute to the greater good. Think taxes (Which these selfish people may claim excuses them), think jury duty, think military service for those eligible if a draft were ever held to defend our nation. The citizen is duty bound to vote, to participate for the greater benefit of the community. A good citizen obeys the laws, and is aware who is the Mayor, who are their ward councilors; what are the issues in the community.
The Nation was founded on the responsibility of the individual to be a citizen.
That’s why the sidewalks are not city property but public property. It is owned by “us” the citizens of Newburyport. It is a fact that in most of the country and in many municipalities in Massachusetts, the homeowner is responsible for the public sidewalk adjacent to their property. My wife’s brother was cited in New Jersey because he had not kept up the sidewalks to the city’s standards. Out of his own pocket, he had to upgrade them.
This ordinance – which I might add is in effect – continues the citizen obligation.
Citizenship requires sacrifice for the greater good. We pay taxes so the greater good is translated into public schools, good roads and safe neighborhoods.
This is not Socialism. It is the fundamental principle of America.
The greater good for Newburyport is to see our public (citizens’) sidewalks improved for the entire benefit of the community.
Can you imagine someone saying, “I pay taxes, therefore I am excused from jury duty!” or, “I don’t need to obey the law, I pay enough in taxes.” The reasoning is ridiculous. Our current ordinance doesn’t kick in until $100,000 in renovations. And the general cost of sidewalks and trees to the adjacent property is from $5,000 to $10,000). As I have previously posted, (with documentation) the IRS has demonstrated that good sidewalks in front of a private home can only benefit the owner.
What we are dealing with are those who feel they have no obligations as citizens because they pay “taxes”. The developers (the bad developers since wise developers improve the sidewalks in front of their projects) hope a few selfish squawkers will allow them to get a pass on this expense.
These amendments considered tonight were, as the Mayor has stated that a ‘few’ homeowners have been caught under this ordinance and they just ‘can’t’ swing improving the city’s sidewalks as they do ‘moderate improvements’.
Supposedly, a $100,000 is a moderate improvement.
It is time we benefit the entire community rather than a few ‘special interests’ who refuse to embrace the duties of ‘citizenship’. Be sure to show up and speak against these amendments tonight at the joint meeting of the Planning Board and the Council of the Whole. (City Hall, 7:00)