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Safety Harbor revives debate over streetlight fee



Commissioners are poised to revisit a controversial policy that charges property owners $50.97 for public streetlights.

The discussion arose at Safety Harbor's budget workshop Monday, and could continue into the summer.

At issue is whether the city should continue charging the fee, which applies to roughly two-thirds of residents, or collect the money through property taxes. Currently, the fee is levied only against people who live on roads with street lights the city leases from Progress Energy Florida.

Mayor Joe Ayoub said he still believes the fee is the best way to pay for public streetlights because the amount is on the utility bill, and people know what they're paying for.

"No matter what we do there's going to be some residents who aren't happy," said Mayor Joe Ayoub. "That's just a part of the job, and that's a part of what we signed up for."

Commissioners Nancy Besore and Nina Bandoni said they were unhappy when the commission approved the fee in December, and they remain so.

"I've received zero positive feedback," Besore said. "The only feedback I've received is from people who haven't seen a raise in six years saying, "'Commissioner Besore, what are you doing?'"

Besore also suggested the city buy some land parcels near downtown for natural parking lots. She hopes the effort could save trees and protect the environment.


[Last modified: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 2:03pm]


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