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Coal Grove leaders want to keep lights on

COAL GROVE --Mayor Tom McKnight and Village Clerk Juanita Markel want to shed some light on the street light levy slated for the Nov. 5 ballot.

"We need to have neighborhoods lit up so kids can get home from school and be safe," McKnight said. "Everyone knows how important it is to have lighting around their homes and on the streets."

The levy is a replacement for the current one that expires at the end of the year.

A levy has been used to fund street lighting in the village since 1978 and must be replaced every 5 years.

"The fact is that it will not increase taxes," McKnight said. "All we are asking for is a replacement. If we do not receive the money, we cannot pay AEP for electricity."

The replacement levy would fund the lighting from 2003 to 2007. The one-mil levy costs taxpayers $1 per every $1,000 of assessed property value,

the same as it has since the levy's inception, Markel said.

In the past, the levy has always passed, but sometimes took two tries and cost the village twice to put it on the ballot and advertise,

McKnight said.

"I would hope people respond as they have in the past," he said. "People have to realize that it is important and it helps everyone in the village."

People are sometimes confused at the polls because the language states that it is "for the purpose of current operating expense" rather than simply for a street light levy, Markel said.

"If this is not adopted, there is not enough money in the general fund to subsidize it," she said. "If people do not vote for it, they must not want the streets lit up."

In the past, the village has used tactics like turning out the lights so people can see how badly the lights are needed, but McKnight said he really did not want to do anything like that this time because people seem to understand the importance.

However, if the levy is not passed, it can be put on the ballot again in the spring primary and the village would still have time to get it passed before it loses collections, he said.

However, this would just add unnecessary expenses, McKnight said.

"There is no point in going through this a second time," he said.