Residents criticize Salt Lake City's streetlights fee
A half dozen residents told the Salt Lake City Council on Tuesday evening they didn't want to pay a fee in addition to property taxes for streetlights.
A proposed ordinance would create an enterprise fund that city officials say would be a more predictable revenue stream.
"I don't like it," said Jeff Walker. "We pay property taxes. It's not the fault of the taxpayers you haven't budgeted properly."
State schools, state and federal government buildings, and some nonprofit organizations, such as churches, don't pay for streetlights under the city's current system, which is supported largely by property taxes.
The proposed fee would apply to all property owners.
For residents, the proposed ordinance calls for a monthly fee of $3.73. For others, the assessment would equal $3.73 for every 75 feet of street frontage. It would bring in about $3.6 million annually.
But Randy Sorensen told the council it should be more sensitive to "elderly people on fixed incomes. An additional $3.73 a month is a lot of money for these people."
Over the past four years, the light budget has shrunk from about $1.5 million to $1 million annually, as revenues decreased, according to city officials.
The proposal for a fee comes as 1,500 city streetlights are burned out with no funding to repair them.
But Jay Ingleby told the council the fee was just another tax.
"To add one more fee during a stumped economy is ridiculous," he said.
The council could vote on the proposed ordinance as soon as Dec.11.