FLINT TWP. — A public hearing at the township board meeting Monday night shed very little light on a proposal to formally establish the entire township as a special assessment district for street lighting.
Township assessors who were expected to provide answers about the special assessment failed to attend the meeting. The assessment is being proposed to enable the township to recover hefty street-lighting costs.
Some residents and township trustee Frank Kasle questioned why the public hearing was being held since the people with the answers were not present.
Township Supervisor Karyn Miller said she decided not to postpone the public hearing out of consideration for residents who attended Monday’s meeting expecting to comment. She added that the board would be taking no action at the meeting.
Kasle suggested extending the public hearing until the next board meeting when representatives from the assessors’ office could be present to answer questions.
Miller declined for several reasons. One was based on negative feedback from residents in the audience which might mean not pursuing the proposal, she said. Another reason is because of an approaching deadline when final paperwork for the special assessment is due at the county level.
Kasle questioned why Miller said the proposed district would not be pursued , adding that he was interested in what the assessors had to say about why it is necessary to levy streetlight costs to all landowners in the township.
Residents at the meeting particularly questioned why they would be forced to pay for street lighting when there is none on their street.
Miller gave an analogy to the road millage which all residents pay for though some live on a dirt road. She also said that residents without streetlight also benefit from driving on roads where there is street lighting.
At a previous meeting when the board adopted a resolution to hold the public hearing, Miller provided some information about why the assessment was being requested. She said that Consumers Energy billed the township $411,300 for 2,150 unmetered streetlights from July 2016 through June 2017. Streetlight costs are not spread over all township parcels but only to 7,511, she said. Creating the district would spread street light costs over11,998 eligible parcels. The cost per parcel has not been set but legal documents presented in the board packet indicated that that cost is not fixed but could fluctuate in future years.
The documents also stated that additional public hearings would be set for October 16 and November 6.
Since the board did not vote on the proposal Monday, it was not made clear if the dates of those additional public hearings would change as well. Miller instructed residents to watch for updates on board action to be posted on the township website at www.flinttownship.org