BERWICK -- A Berwick council member is fighting city hall, so to speak, over a damaged sidewalk.
Andrew Shecktor has been on Berwick Borough Council for two years.
Since May, the borough codes officer has warned Shecktor to fix a buckled and damaged sidewalk in front of his property on Fairview Avenue. Shecktor says it’s not his responsibility.
"Council is puzzled. They're like no one has ever done this before and codes enforcement is like this is the law. Well actually, it's not. In fact, that particular tree is actually on borough property. It's on borough land. It's actually in the street,” said Shecktor.
Shecktor said the sidewalk damage was caused by the roots of a shade tree, which he claims belongs to the borough, so the borough should pay for repairs.
The borough codes officer said the municipal code is clear: Shecktor has to pay.
Neighbors have mixed feelings.
“Let him pay to repair it,” said Seth Taylor of Berwick.
"I think it's the borough's problem for the tree, to be honest. It's a tree you know, and it's on the sidewalk. I understand the sidewalk is supposed to be his problem like my sidewalk is my problem, but the tree was there before I'm assuming he moved in,” said Jennifer Myers of Berwick.
The codes officer said Shecktor has not been cited yet, but he will be, and Shecktor says he's waiting for that, so he can fight it.
"I'll take it as far as is necessary. I don't think I'll start with a local judge because they'll be unresponsive,” said Shecktor.
Shecktor has been researching case law around the country on this issue. He's also been speaking to experts. He says this is something Berwick and the rest of the country has to change.
"What I found is there's actually culpability with the borough and I intend to prove that and there are actually boroughs across the state and across other states, too. This is nationwide, too,” said Shecktor.
We want to point out that Shecktor is one of several candidates running for the congressional seat currently held by Lou Barletta.
As for the tree outside his house in Berwick, Shecktor expects the citation to be for hundreds of dollars a day until the sidewalk is repaired.