Muskegon is moving forward with plans to make property owners pay to upgrade city street lights.
Tuesday night, the Muskegon City Commission agreed to create a special assessment district including all city property. It is the last step before they vote on a plan to charge property owners $18 a year to upgrade street lights from sodium vapor to LED.
“This is a good investment for the city and that is why I’m planning to vote yes,” says Commissioner Dan Rinsema-Sybenga.
“If we illuminate the city better than we do now, I think it will have the effect of reducing crime in many areas,” added Commissioner Byron Turnquist. “I think it is good for the city and I will be voting for it.”
City administrators say the upgrade will cut $350,000 a year from energy bills.
But, most who spoke at a public hearing Tuesday night are against the plan because property owners will have to pay for it.
“My taxes are going up and I can’t afford this,” Susan Line told commissioners.
“My gas bill is higher, my electric bill is higher, my tax bill is higher,” added Lyle Cater. “Why would you hurt senior citizens?”
Last year the city commission did not approve a plan to charge property owners $28 a year to upgrade the street lights. Now that the charge is down to $18, a majority says they will support the proposal when it comes up for a final vote next week.
Willie German, Jr. is the only commissioner who says he is opposed.
“I’m definitely opposed to this street light assessment,” he says. “I can’t see putting this burden on the citizens.
"My vote will be no.”