Can the city make property owners pay for street lights?
Our city is trying to pass a bill that will make property owners pay a fee to cover the costs of street lights. Can they do this? Do any other cities have a street light fee?
I don't know if any other cities have this, but apparently it is legal. I would have assumed no, since street lights are considered property of the city, just like the sidewalk. But apparently no. Then again, if you think about it, you paid for the street lights anyways through your tax money.
Ours does not. In answer to your question, they can do anything they want unless it violates an existing law.
Great question. I think our neighborhood added extra lights for safety on the corners and it was charged to the homeowners. Guess someone has to pay the bills. And even if we were not charged, they would increase taxes to make up for the cost (we still end up paying.)
Street lights do cost money to install, maintain and operate. It has to be covered somehow. In many places the already overloaded taxpayers understandably refuse to support any increase in the rates, and so local governments have been using fees, assessments, and other methods of getting more money. It's merely a matter of how the sheep are fleeced.
To keep down the cost of local government, you have to cut back its activities. Yes, there is a lot of waste and corruption. With government there always is. You'll never make it efficient, so don't delude yourself that is the way to control its expenses. The only avenue open to you to make it less costly it is to reduce its size and eliminate things it does. In this particular matter, that would mean doing without those street lights.
To answer your question directly, yes, it is legal for your government to render special charges to cover the cost of those lights. As voters you can put a stop to it, but you do need to understand that in doing so you must make it do less. Nothing is free. There are always tradeoffs. Make your choice and act on it. You can't expect to avoid the costs of public services by fiddling with the techniques used to pass them on to you.
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