RICHMOND COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - Next week Richmond County Commissioners will decide on new street light rates. Some commissioners say the streetlight fee system is outdated and needs to meet the current needs of the growing city.
According to Commissioner Sammy Sias, there are several issues with the whole process and the entire program is underfunded.
The city is running more than a $400,000 deficit annually, which has now brought them about 1.2 million dollars in the hole for the street light fund. Next week commissioners will decide on a plan to repay the deficit and cover the annual streetlight expenses.
"Our system is antiquated, yet very complicated. Each time there's a couple of street lights up we create a new street light district based on that. So we may have a thousand street light districts and each one of them has a different rate of what they're charging. So we need a system that is simplified that we can account for and ensure that everybody is paying into."
Currently, the system is not safety driven, it's instead driven by property owners, not the people using the streets. Commissioner Sias believes the street lights should be available for everyone and therefore everyone should contribute with paying a simple fee. Most residents already pay this fee, so it can either increase or decrease if commissioners decide to make all residential customers pay a $87 fee. According to Commissioner Sias, this will aide in keeping residents safe.
"It's a safety issue, so we need to deal with areas that don't have street lights, and believe me, light is a deterrent to crime and secondly, we need to go ahead and infill the areas where the street lights are inadequate."