By Lemor Abrams

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The City of Sacramento is going after homeowners refusing to pay to repair city sidewalks.

The city says homeowners owe the city tens of thousands of dollars. The city council will hear the issue Tuesday, before placing liens on people’s homes.

The issue isn’t uncommon.

San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, are just a few cities that require homeowners pay to fix broken sidewalks.
But in Sacramento, the city’s getting aggressive. In the last year, the city sent out notices to hundreds of homeowners, who owe a total of $200,000 for sidewalk repairs.

Cameron Burnham called the city to complain about the cracked sidewalks outside his East Sacramento home.

“I felt bad watching people come through,” Burnham said.

Public Works did come out and fix it. But Burnham says, sent him a bill for it: $5,000, to fix a city sidewalk.

“I think it’s ridiculous that we have to pay for this,” he said.

Burnham hasn’t paid yet though. He’s one of about 200 people who’ve received bills from the city to fix the broken sidewalks in front of their property.

If they don’t pay? The city says it’ll place a lien on their home.

Michelle Allen tried to fight it–even writing an emotional letter to her councilman. But she couldn’t beat the city, and ended up writing public works an $1,100 check instead.

“Your infrastructure is crumbling and all of a sudden, you’re going to put it on the homeowners to take care of it?” Allen said.

John O’Brien is a personal injury attorney who’s represented victims in several trip and fall cases. But in this case, he says the homeowner is liable.

“The landowner owns the sidewalk. If someone gets hurt, it’s the landowner’s responsibility, not the city’s,” O’Brien said.

The issue is in the city code. It states in part, “An owner shall maintain and repair any defective sidewalk fronting such owner’s lot.”

The city was unavailable for comment.

“I mean what’s next, the street?” said Allen.

“So I guess we’re not getting a pool this year,” said Burnham.

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