That $3 monthly fee will help the city install new street lights and maintain existing street lights.
West Valley City residents receive an additional notice on their utility bill, notifying them of a new street light charge.
In April 2021, the City Council approved a law designed to collect extra money for streetlight maintenance. The new measure will take effect on January 1.
Utah’s second most populous city is working to upgrade its public lighting system. It recently completed a project to convert old street light bulbs to LED lighting. This program is expected to save energy costs for the city.
The new ordinance means replacing and building a whole new lighting system as needed.
Why? Because, as the ordinance states, “the construction and maintenance of street lighting is essential to promote traffic safety and reduce crime.”
There is no concrete evidence that street lighting shifts to safer cities. But lighting up some areas will promote pedestrians’ safety awareness, causing many people to leave their homes at night and walk outside.
As this new fee is withheld, some residents have questions about what it means for them and their community. Here are some answers:
How much it costs?
The first charge will be added to your utility bill in February. The monthly fee is $3 for single-family and two-story apartments. Other properties will be assessed against street frontage, the ordinance states. Then, each unit will pay $3 for every 80 linear feet of the facade.
The fee will generate approximately $1.27 million, with 70% coming from residential units. The proceeds will only be used for the installation and maintenance of street lights.
Why pay fees?
Dan Johnson, of the city, said there are about 7,500 street lights in the city. public works director. Many of them were built in the mid-1990s and require ongoing repairs.
“We find ourselves in a position where we are responding to maintenance in a very reactive way. When the lights go out, we go out and fix them,” Johnson said. “Honestly, we don’t have enough resources to meet the system’s needs without adding resources to it.”
The city hopes to fund new tenants to proactively maintain public lighting and add new lights as needed.
When will work begin?
Under the ordinance, starting to collect the fee in January would allow replacement and construction work to begin in the spring. The city has prepared for additional revenue by starting the process of hiring new employees who will tend to use street lights.
The city is also expected to add a technician and purchase a new truck and materials.
What can residents expect?
The Ministry of Public Works has identified a number of locations without any street lights. Most of them are commercial areas, Johnson said.
Many street lights were also not working, he said. One of the main causes is faulty underground wiring and not buried in the conduit. These lights are often just buried in dirt, making them harder to replace.
“Many existing street light poles,” the ordinance notes, “have equaled or exceeded their expected lifespan.”
In general, the budget is expected to cover the replacement of 70 to 80 lights per year (including poles, new wiring and junction boxes), the addition of 120 lights, one-time painting of the fiberglass poles and handle wooden columns.
“With these funds, we’ll be able to go and solve those kinds of problems,” Johnson said. “We will respond to any possible vandalism of street lighting. Indeed, we will respond faster to street light complaints. “
Other cities — such as Salt Lake City, Sandy and West Jordan — have similar fees, Johnson said. “This is really just a tool that allows us to provide better service and have a better lit community.”
Alixel Cabrera is a Report to the US corps members and wrote about the state of communities west of the Salt Lake Valley for The Salt Lake Tribune. Your donation to match our RFA grant will help her continue writing stories like this; Please consider creating a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by clicking here.
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