Minneapolis Spends $600K on 'Decorative' Street Lights
Sixty-six "decorative" street lights will go up next spring on Penn Avenue South between 54th Street and Highway 62.
The existing street lights work fine, but the city is still moving forward with the fancier street lights, and they are assessing 100 property owners on those eight blocks a total of $600,000 in new taxes to get it done. Many of the property owners don't want the decorative street lights and would prefer keeping the existing ones.
We tried getting answers from City Council member Betsy Hodges. She represents the area. But, she declined to talk on camera. She told us in a statement, in part, that "citizens could opt out of the decorative street light project, if they wanted." But, this is how that works. The city sent out ballots to all 100 property owners on those blocks. If 70 of them voted "no" the project would be killed. Sixty-three did vote "no." Three voted "yes" and 34 did not respond. The city counts the 34 non-responses as "yes" votes which means the project moves forward.
One property owner, who did not want to be identified, told us she owns four properties on Penn Avenue and her total tax assessment is $49,000 for the fancy lights. Another homeowner told us his would be $7,500, and Steve Binenstock, who owns a duplex, is getting hit for $5,700.
Mark Settergren, owner of Settergren Hardware will have to pay an additional $15,000 for the fancy lights.
Those decorative lights are scheduled to be installed in the spring of 2013.