Council Continues Discussion on 'Curb Appeal'

Information reprinted with permission of the Courier Times, local newspaper New Castle, Indiana

Council continues discussion on 'curb appeal'

Council member Jerry Walden brought up the subject of sidewalk repair and maintenance and asked his counterparts for their thoughts regarding the insertion of an informational flyer in city water bills to remind local residents that they are responsible for the sidewalks in front of their homes.

City clerk-treasurer Christy York said inserting flyers in local water bills costs $700, which is somewhat cost prohibitive, and it was agreed trying to get the word out via The Courier-Times should be tried before any additional action is taken.

Mayor Greg York also voiced concern about sand and other debris accumulating in the curbs in front of local homes, which can eventually clog storm sewer catch basins and contribute to localized, short-term flooding during periods of heavy rainfall. He also noted that sand and soil building up along street curbs can lead to grass and weeds growing there, which can impede the flow of water and lead to the formation of cracks in the pavement.

“A lot of people think sidewalks and curbs are on us,” the mayor said. “It all goes back to curb appeal. I’ve asked many times that if someone has a storm drain in front of their property, if they could just help keep Big Gulp cups and Walmart bags picked up it would help so much. It would help a tremendous amount.”

Walden and the rest of the council were in agreement the city would benefit from citizens taking pride in the appearance of their property.

“We’ve really got to try to take care of our city, as citizens,” Walden said.

The city has a program that reimburses property owners up to $500 for sidewalk repair or replacement. That program is administered through the mayor’s office. 

As for the ongoing problem of people setting out large trash items such as unwanted mattresses, couches and furniture and expecting the city to pick them up and dispose of them at no extra charge, Mayor York cited the way Batesville, Greensburg and Rushville respond.

“I called all of those mayors and I asked how they eliminate couches and TVs (from being set out) and they said that it’s real simple, what doesn’t fit in the toter doesn’t go out on the street,” York said. “When we start making exceptions we open the flood gates.”

York noted that when driving through Raintree Heights, White Estates or other subdivisions near city limits you don’t see large trash setting curbside because residents in those areas know they are responsible for hauling their own large trash to a nearby landfill or hiring someone to do so.

“We’ve been lenient for a lot of years, and once you’re lenient with it there’s just no controlling it,” the mayor said.

The mayor and council have been saying for several months that those people who violate the local trash ordinance, which clearly states all household trash must fit in the green toters provided by the city, will be fined and cited into city court if necessary.

Questions may be directed to the New Castle Street Department at 765-521-6831 or the mayor’s office at 765-529-7605.