A Dayton Streetlight Tax: because the Dayton City Commission can’t do its job

day in the life: day in the light

Creative Commons License marya via Compfight

Now we have the Dayton City Commission about to shift the cost of lighting the streets to the property owners in Dayton because it has been so busy giving away the store that there’s no money left for basic services:

The City Commission will vote next Wednesday on a streetlight assessment that will affect just about every property owner in the city, raising around $3 million to cover the cost of the lights and improve at least one-quarter of them.

“I look at this an investment program that will give the city better lighting for safer streets and save us money,” City Manager Tim Riordan said prior to the first look at the proposed resolution.

The six-year assessment would cover all property in the city, including such tax-exempt properties as churches, and city, state and federal buildings.

It would shift the cost of the streetlights from the city’s General Fund, which covers the day-to-day operations of the city, directly to property owners.

via Streetlight fee on city commission agenda.

This tax will raise about $3 million a year and is scheduled for 6 years. Calculation will be based on property value, not lineal feet of street, so people who have dark streets will be paying for the blazingly bright Belmont Business District just because the commission can add a tax.

Part of this money will be used to switch existing lights over to LEDs which consume a lot less electricity. Federal law requires cities to start making the switch – with each switched fixture costing half as much to run over the course of the year. We’re required to replace at least 1/3 right now according to the city manager.

Instead of raising our taxes, might it have made sense to take the UPS/Emery air freight building at Dayton International Airport from UPS and started scrapping it ourselves- raising at least $4 million just from the diesel generators and the stainless steel fuel farm? Add in the $7 million UPS paid the city to get out of their lease, and we’d have $11 million to spend right away on replacing mercury vapor lights and cutting the cost in half citywide. There was also a pretty sophisticated conveyor system that could have been sold or scrapped for several million more. Instead, we gave it all away to IRG, including a check right off the bat for $3.5 million.

So, the reason you are about to be taxed for streetlights is really not because we’re broke, but because you, the voters in the city of Dayton decided to elect some dim bulbs to the city commission. Note, Mayor Gary Leitzell was the only one who voted NO to give away the valuable asset of the UPS/Emery Air Freight hub to the vulture capitalists at IRG.

 

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