No light at the end of the tunnel

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The University of Dayton’s argument to pay less in street light fees was rejected Wednesday by the Street Light Assessment Board.

The board ruled the university does benefit from the city’s street lights, saying, “The grounds the property can be removed from the assessment were not met.”

University officials say the problem is many of the 122 parcels they are being assessed on are located inside the campus, where the only lights are paid for by the university.

The university has to pay about $845,000 over the six years of the assessment, which accounts for five percent of the total amount the city is collecting.

“We clearly don’t benefit from that level of the street lights,” says Ted Bucaro, UD Government Relations Director.

The board has held hearings all week on assessments after 190 people objected to what they were being charged.

The city says the fees will pay for new street lights in some cases and replace old ones with more efficient LED lights in other cases.

The city used property tax values to determine what was owed, but since UD doesn’t pay taxes, it argues the values have never been closely examined.

“We’re being specially assessed on a value that may or may not be the right one,” Bucaro says. “Our sense is it’s inflated.”

The University wasn’t the only group upset today.

Oberer Companies, owner of a number of apartments, objected to its assessment but was also denied by the board.

“In our opinion the city and Miami Valley Lighting are trying to pull a fast one and do it at our expense,” says Greg Engler, who was representing Oberer at the hearing.

The Dayton City Commission will hear the board’s recommendations at next week’s meeting. University officials say they’ll ask commissioners to table the recommendations until a fairer system can be worked out.

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