Property owners will pay for new street lights

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton property owners are picking up the tab to improve about 18,000 street lights across the city.

Dayton City Commission voted 4-0 to go ahead with the plan that has come with some complaints.

“Right now, they’ve effectively passed it so we’ll have to figure out where to go from there,” said Ted Bucaro, Government and Regional Relations Director for the University of Dayton.

The average cost for homeowners in the city will be about $25. That amount is based on the value of property.

Bucaro said the university is looking at a bill of around $845,000 because the assessment covered 122 of the university’s properties.

The university joined four other representatives Wednesday night asking city commission to reconsider their plan.

“We really didn’t find out officially about this until the latter part of June,” said Bucaro. “We had roughly a little over a week to put together our objection letter.”

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, along with the other city commissioners, said it was time to move forward on improving street lights.

“Nothing is ever perfect when it’s assessments,” said Whaley. “Everything could always be a bit better.”

It is a project that has been considered for the past four years. The last street light assessment ended in 2006.

The city is hoping to generate about $3 million a year to improve Dayton’s street lights. The city plans to switch the current lights to LED lights which are brighter and more energy efficient.

Whaley says assessing property values was a way to soften the blow to those struggling to make ends meet.

“Considering the poverty rate in the city of Dayton, we wanted to keep it as low as possible for some of those folks,” said Whaley.

Others, however, maintained their objection to the amount they will be billed.

The University of Dayton says the lights covering their 400 acres of properties are paid and maintained by the university.

“The vote tonight obviously wasn’t a big surprise,” said Bucaro. “We were hoping they would either table it or vote it down or withdraw it and that obviously didn’t happen.”

Property owners can expect a bill sometime in 2015. That is also when work is expected to begin on street lights.

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