Plainfield Township Street Lighting

Plainfield Township to increase lighting assessment across the board

September 15, 2011 // 0 Comments

Move is to match real costs ‘It really is minimal,’ says assistant manager by BETH ALTENA Because Consumers Energy rates now rise so regularly and by larger amounts than in years past, Plainfield Township has been unable to match residential payment for street lighting to the residential districts who should be paying for their own lights. The difference, about $50,000 a year, has been coming out of the township’s General Fund, a luxury the township can no longer afford, according to Plainfield Township Manager Robert Homan. He spoke to the board and additional township staff at a special meeting held Monday, August 29. In response to the difference between costs and collections, the township has restructured lighting assessment districts from over 200 down to 13 and will increase lighting assessment rates by 35 percent across the board to catch up residential payment to real costs of paying for residential street lighting. “There is no more equitable way to do this,” said Homan. Homan said in past years the cost of operating a streetlight rose about every 10 years, and by not very much. It was then pretty easy to adjust what residents paid for the lighting in their neighborhood. Around 2005 increases had risen to about every year and it became very difficult to adjust the many districts according to cost increases. According to Homan, residents pay for street lighting in their neighborhoods according to districts scattered throughout the township. Some of the districts were created in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s for which there are no computer records and sometimes are recorded in language that is inconsistent with wording used in lighting assessment documents the township uses today. The township response was to recreate the districts into larger sections and to make all wording in assessment language consistent. Not all residents will be affected. Those with no residential streetlights should not be and won’t be paying the assessment. The township identified 6,100 parcels that are paying for street lighting. In addition, the research turned up about 300 parcels that should have been paying but have not, possibly due to lot splits. They also identified some landlocked parcels with no lighting that should not have been paying the assessment but have been. All parcels currently being […]