2009-06-06 / Editorials & Letters

Keep the lights on!

Buckeye Lake Village Council's decision last week to turn off the village's street lights on June 30 sounds like it was made more out of anger than financial necessity. It makes about as much financial sense as their decision several years ago to kick out a rent paying tenant to expand the police department and create a conference room.

Sure voters recently rejected a one mill operating levy for the lights by a 92-82 vote. But that's hardly a mandate when less than 10 percent of registered voters turned out. Council members and village officials bear some of the responsibility for that extremely low turnout by failing to make the case for the levy. The village ran a small informational ad twice, but that was it for their campaign for street lights. There is more to being a council member than attending a couple of meetings a month. Council members must actively promote important issues and that means Letters to the Editor and making personal contacts like talking to voters door-to-door.

We can't believe that Buckeye Lake can afford to pay the $3,400 disconnection fee plus $3,600 in service fees ($600 a month for six months), but can't afford paying $2,600 more (a total of $9,600 for six months @ $1,600 per month) to keep the lights on for another six months. Actually keeping the lights on for six months is less expensive when you consider the $3,400 reconnection fee. Keeping lights on for six months costs $9,600. Turning the lights off and then turning them back on sometime in the future costs $10,400.

Council has two opportunities this month to rescind their irresponsible decision. They should also immediately take steps to put the levy back on the November ballot and then strongly support its approval. We're confident that voters will agree when they understand what is at stake.

If Buckeye Lake truly can't afford the extra $2,600 to keep lights on through this year, we'll put our money where our mouth is. Buckeye Lake has 201 street lights and each one costs about $95 per year to operate. The Beacon will adopt a street light and encourage others to do the same. We'll write our check as soon as Fiscal Officer Pauline Ety demonstrates that Buckeye Lake can afford $7,000 in disconnection/service fees, but can't come up with $9,600 to keep the lights on.

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