Why rent, when you can own, save money and have more freedom?
That’s a key premise behind Layton City’s new Street Lighting Utility Fund and corresponding new Street Lighting Utility Fee for residents.
This fee increase is part of Layton City’s tentative budget for 2013-2014. The budget will be presented to the City Council for final approval at a public hearing on Thursday, June 20 at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers.
It will be effective July 1 and will add $2 a month to the standard residential utility bills.
The fee will appear as $4 on the standard residential utility bill because it is for a two-month period. Commercial utility customers will be charged according to an established calculation.
Residents receiving their bill the first week of August (for June and July) will see an extra $2 for July on their bill. Residents receiving their bill the first week of September (for July and August) will see an extra $4 on their bill.
The changes and extra revenue from the fee, proposed in the tentative budget, will enable the City to purchase the current street lighting system from Rocky Mountain Power (RMP).
Currently, there are over 1,550 street lights in the City being operated by RMP.
Owning the street lighting system will allow the City to expand, maintain, and improve the system more effectively, as well as save money over time on rent payments.
This will ultimately make the streets and corners of Layton City brighter at night.
Some of the other advantages to owning include:
-Improving the quality of the system.
-Expanding the system in underserved neighborhoods.
-Maintaining the system at a more desirable level.
-Increased control over upgrades to the system.
-Greater response time in repairs.
-More control over energy efficiency measures.
Initially, this savings will be used to pay for the purchase of the system. The approximate payback period is four years. The proposed fee will be used to operate and maintain the system.
Once the cost of the system is covered, the proposed fee will be used to upgrade and expand the system.
Under the current arrangement, there is not an incentive for RMP to implement energy efficiency programs for street lighting.
Layton Mayor Steve Curtis said that by owning its own poles and fixtures, a municipality eliminates service and rental fees, paying only for electricity to the local power utility.
He also noted that the city owning its own poles will provide a means to display banners, which enhance any business community.
Mayor Curtis likened the potential improvements with the new fee to what has happened along I-15 at the Layton Parkway Interchange in street lighting upgrades.
Council member Joyce Brown stressed that all funds after the payback will be used exclusively for the upgrade and expansion of the street lighting in the city.
“I would add that Layton City will pay back the general fund within the first four years. Layton City does not use Enterprise Funds, such as the new Street Lighting Fund, to supplement the General Funds of the City.”
-Why is the fee necessary?
The fee will provide the capability of expanding, improving, and upgrading the system. Ultimately, the goal of the City in owning the system is to provide street lighting that is effective, efficient, aesthetically pleasing and well maintained.