The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

March 12, 2014

Everyone will pay monthly street light fee in Conneaut

CONNEAUT — City Council in Conneaut has flipped the “off” switch on a street light fee exemption enjoyed by dozens of city residents the past few years.

Effective July 1, everyone in Conneaut will pay the $2 month assessment that helps the city pay its street light bill every year. Since the fee began in 2009, some property-owners have not had to pay because of a loophole built into the ordinance. Council, at Monday’s regular meeting, unanimously and without discussion passed legislation that closes the hole starting this summer.

People were entitled to an exemption if the furthestmost boundary of their property was more than 500 feet from the nearest street light. A total of 155 property-owners sought — and received — the exemption, officials said. The fee costs the city $3,720 annually in revenue, said Finance Director John Williams.

Past councils have revisited the fee exemption, but no changes were made — until now. The council elected in November immediately began talks aimed at the exemption soon after taking office. Councilman-at-large Jon Arcaro led the charge, calling the fee unfair.

Other members agreed, noting everyone benefits from lights when they drive in town at night. Street lights are designed to help traffic, not serve as personal security devices, members have said.

“It’s a street light, not a house light,” Council President Nicholas Church said in January.

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