Living with, and paying for private streets in Glendale, Arizona
One of the most confusing things that I talk to about my neighbors in Glendale is that I live on a private street. And that simply means that the city doesn't maintain it. It doesn't mean that you can't drive into the neighborhood, or anything like that. A private street like mine is the equivalent of a parking lot. People are allowed there, but the City of Glendale doesn't pay to keep it up. That's the responsibility of the people who live there, like me.
Of course I knew nothing about that when I bought the house. To me, streets were streets. You drove on them, and every once in a while the cracks in them were repaired. And then every once in a while they had to be resurfaced, which costs a lot of money.
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What that means to me as a homeowner is that the ordinary maintenance of my neighborhood streets are paid for out of my Homeowner's Association fees, and every few years there's a special, much bigger, charge that pays for resurfacing. The streets in my neighborhood look great because the homeowners here pay their fees.
Of course, not everyone agrees with having to pay for stuff they use. I've known a lot of people who think that everything they use should be provided to them for free, by which they mean that someone else should pay for it. Because streets aren't free, someone has to pay for it.
In my younger days I would have wanted everything for free, because everything was free to me - my parents paid for everything. When I grew up I came to understand the responsibility of helping to pay for what I use, for pulling my own weight. It made sense to me when I bought this house, 25 years ago.
I do know a lot of people who disagree with me, who think that the government should pay for everything, as if the government wasn't just us, the people. We the people pay for things that we the people use. They taught me that in Civics class, and I learned it when I bought this house.
Image at the top of this post: Paving the streets in Glendale in 1921
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Posted by Brad Hall