Updated: 05/31/2013 7:36 AM KSTP.com By: Jay Kolls
The city of Minneapolis has completely changed its street lighting policy, and it will save some taxpayers millions of dollars immediately.
The city still intends to put up decorative street lights on major streets. But, instead of assessing individual property owners along the stretch of newly constructed streets for the cost of the decorative lighting, the city will spread the cost among all taxpayers out of Capital Improvement budgets.
Still, property owners who were hit with high assessments to pay for the decorative lights are happy to hear they will not be on the hook, individually, for hundreds of thousands of dollars for the project on their street.
The city also decided to refund, or pay up front, the cost of decorative lighting on five finished and two current street projects.
That total is about $2 million. The push to have the street lighting policy changed came after a series of stories from 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.
It all started on Penn Avenue South from 54th Street all the way to Highway 62. Property owners on that stretch of street were hit with assessments, for the new decorative lights, anywhere from $5-$8,000 dollars each. Some businesses faced assessments topping $10,000 for what they call "fancy" street lights.
After 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS stories aired, the residents along Penn Avenue petitioned city officials to change the street lighting policy and the City Council, several months later, changed its course and completely revamped the policy to spread the costs out over the entire city, if officials decided they wanted new decorative lighting on certain streets that were reconstructed.