A routine consent agenda vote turned out to be a little more complicated on July 21 as Riverside Village President Ben Sells’ vote was needed to break a 3 to 3 deadlock to approve spending $79,420 to replace 6,674 square feet of sidewalks using exposed aggregate concrete this year.
Initially included as part of the consent agenda – one of eight items the village board was to have voted on as a package at its regular business meeting – approving a contract to replace defective sidewalk squares required a separate vote, requested by Trustee Joseph Ballerine.
A consistent proponent for using ordinary broom-finished concrete for sidewalks, Ballerine again argued against the use of exposed aggregate concrete because of the cost to do so. Based on the bid prices for both types of concrete by the low bidder, Globe Construction, it would have cost just $47,719 to pour 6,674 square feet of broom-finished concrete sidewalks.
“So, roughly, that’s a $31,700 premium we’re paying, or the equivalent of [66.4] percent,” Ballerine said.
The village allows private homeowners to opt for either broom-finished or exposed aggregate concrete when replacing things like driveways or walkways on private property. For all the village’s insistence on using exposed aggregate for its sidewalks, virtually no one opts for exposed aggregate for private project due to the cost.
Ballerine said he used broom-finished concrete for his own driveway and “it doesn’t look any different than my [exposed aggregate] sidewalk.”
Ballerine voted against the contract, arguing that the village could replace more square feet of sidewalk using ordinary broom-finished concrete instead of exposed aggregate. Voting with Ballerine were trustees Patricia Collins and Ellen Hamilton. Voting to approve the contract calling for exposed aggregate were trustees Scott Lumsden, Doug Pollock and Michael Sedivy.
Collins agreed with Ballerine, arguing that it was more important to replace more sidewalk squares for the money.
“To me it’s not worth that much of a difference,” Collins said. “It’s more important to have sidewalks replaced than to have something that really looks pretty.”
Collins said that the owner of a home with deteriorated copper gutters wouldn’t wait until he could afford it to simply replace with copper, which is very expensive.
But Lumsden said that the board had already made the decision to go with exposed aggregate sidewalks when the 2016 budget was finalized and that it wasn’t appropriate to re-litigate the issue again. He also argued that the owners of historic homes in Riverside are required to replace deteriorating elements with like materials. Riverside was a historic place, he said, and ought to be held to the same standard.
“We’re trying to maintain the feel of the village and that’s very important to folks, and we’re trying to balance that with the financial responsibility,” Lumsden said.