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Denver sidewalks are on the ballot in November

The Denver Deserves Sidewalks initiative officially has enough votes to claim a spot on the ballot.

DENVER — It's no secret that sidewalks in Denver can be improved, and now Denver Elections announced the Denver Deserves Sidewalks initiative has enough votes to take this issue to the ballot on November 8 in this year's general election. 

However, the proposal for new sidewalks means that annual fees will come from Denver homeowners to fix and maintain them. 

The responsibility for maintaining sidewalks currently lies with the homeowner -- if the sidewalk is in front of their property, it's their problem. 

With the new initiative, responsibility will be transferred from the homeowner to the city of Denver, but the funds will still come from property owners.

As outlined in the initiative, the cost to a typical single-family home on a local street with 50-foot property frontage would be $107.50 a year, or about $9 per month.

For an equitable distribution of costs, a 20% discount will be applied to annual fees in lower income neighborhoods that were historically overlooked. These include East Colfax, Elyria-Swansea, Globeville, Montbello, Northeast Park Hill, Sun Valley, Valverde, Villa Park, West Colfax and Westwood. 

RELATED: Denver Streets Partnership trying to get publicly funded sidewalks on the ballot

The initiative does not address neighborhoods that have already paid the city or a private entity to fix their sidewalks.

Because of a sidewalk-fixing initiative from 2018, property owners paid for these things already. According to Denver's Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, these people will not be receiving a refund. They will also not be exempt from the new annual fee.

"There would be a lot of logistical challenges. How would we reimburse people? How far back do we go? Is everyone eligible for that reimbursement?" Jill Locantore said. Locantore is the executive director of the Denver Streets Partnership, which is behind this ballot initiative.

Previously, Locantore had said the way Denver deals with sidewalks is inequitable.

RELATED: Group submits signatures to get publicly-funded sidewalk repairs on ballot

"We all suffer from having bad sidewalks in our neighborhood, but particularly if you’re a person with a disability, an older adult, a parent with children and especially lower-income households that depend on walking to get to transit and other daily destinations," she told 9NEWS previously.

They needed just under 10,000 signatures to get on the ballot. They got them, and the fate of Denver sidewalks will be decided on November 8.

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