Street light assessment letters concern residents

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The City of Dayton is working to improve its street lights, but the changes could come with a cost directly passed on to some homeowners.

Some of them have reached out to 2 NEWS after getting certified letters about the idea.

Richard Lockwood is upset about a certified letter from the City of Dayton that was waiting for him at the post office today.

“To me that’s just a wrong way of doing things. Hey, your taxes are going up. Yay. Enjoy,” said Lockwood.

The letter says the city is trying to pass a special assessment for street lights.

It’s state law to send out a letter if the total cost to a property owner is more than 250 dollars. For Lockwood it is.

He would be paying the city about $400 for streetlights over the next six years.

“I think it’s a good idea but I think that’s what our taxes go for in the first place,” said Lockwood.

I took his concerns to City Hall and talked with Economist Diane Shannon

Natalie: “There are a lot of different things to spend money on in a city. Why streetlights?”

Shannon: “This is a special assessment so the funds can only be used for streetlights.”

Shannon said the assessment would provide give the city 3 million dollars a year for the next six years. The money would improve Dayton’s street lightning system by upgrading to LED bulbs, standardizing the placement of the posts and doing a better job with maintenance.

“There is a correlation between streetlights and lighting and safety and this provides a revenue stream that’s dedicated to support our streetlight system in the future,” said Shannon.

Altogether about 70,000 households would be required to pay. Some get charged more than others; it all depends how much your home is worth.

“The assessment is based on if there’s a special benefit derived. The special benefit would be the benefit of the street lighting system so anyone who has a street light in proximity to their property,” said Shannon.

Basically, if you’re within 100-200 feet of a street light, you would pay to keep them on.

Natalie: “Why won’t other funds cover this improvement?”

Diane: “We don’t have the funds set aside to upgrade our LED lightning going forward we don’t have money set aside for additional equipment.”

Shannon said this is one of the biggest assessments the city has done recently.

“I think they are getting to the point. If you are going to charge us for all your services maybe you ought to lower our taxes and just start charging for usage.”

If you are one of the more than 7,000 residents who got the letter, know that it’s just a heads up..not a bill.

You have until July 7th to submit an objection to the Clerk of Commission Office.

The commission will make a final decision on July 30th.

If you would like to know more about the assessment click here.

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