Lighting the Way to Tyranny

The light of democracy is dimming. Literally. In your neighborhood, on your block. On your 2014 MLGW bill.

Now they are going to charge us for street lighting. It was supposed to come before the City Council Tuesday; don’t know what happened to it, but it is bound to get their OK since the city transferred all this maintenance to MLGW. The $6 million used to be paid by your tax money. Not that your taxes will go down. This fee will just be transferred. You’ll be paying more January 2014 for the same service you already have.

Did you have a say in it? No. Residents rarely have a say in their own city anymore. What can an individual do about it? We all need street light and we can’t refuse to pay for it. The fees amount to:

Residential Apartment Charge: $1.08/month
Residential Non-Apartment Charge: $4.32
Small Commercial: $6.48
Large Commercial: $19.07

That translates to $12.96 a year for apartment dwellers, $51.84 for home owners, $77.76 for small businesses and $228.84 for larger ones. We’re not talking a small amount of money.

I walked down my street to count the homes and lights. There are 7 light posts, 38 homes and two apartment buildings. Say the two apartments have 6 residents each. The money that would be generated from this each year comes out to $2,047.38. Multiply that by every street in the city and you’ve got a chunk of dough.
It’s money that will flow to MLGW for as long as we need lights, that is to say forever.

How much do they cost to operate a year? Many of them have stood there for decades, so they don’t need frequent replacement. How often do they need fixing? Maybe once in 5 years? Probably that is a low estimate. We aren’t privy to that information. MLGW also determines when they come on and go off. We don’t.

Once again, we are kept in the dark on how MLGW and the city operate. Freedom and democracy? You can forget about it.

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