Mapleton okays flat rate for streetlights to avoid big fluctuations

In an effort to try to eliminate major swings from year to year in streetlighting rates throughout the township, Mapleton council has approved a flat rate for all properties benefitting from streetlights.
Director of Finance Mike Givens told council last week that in the past, there would be wide ranges in the rates from year to year and from location to location, due to repairs. Going with a flat rate would eliminate those fluctuations, Givens said.
Mayor John Green added that the flat rate would also take a lot of time out of financial discussions at budget time each year.
Councillor Bruce Whale said using the flat rate makes sense, because the up and down fluctuations in the past evened out over time anyway.
Givens said he hopes the flat rate will save the township money, and he said if things go according to plan the flat rate could be significantly lower in 2009.
“Going forward I am very hopeful that purchasing electricity on the spot market at non-peak times for streetlighting through our LAS (Local  Authority Services) agreement will produce cost savings,” Givens said in his report to council.
He added that the township’s auditor has no problem with using a flat rate for streetlighting.
The flat rate means the average residential taxpayer in the township with a house valued at $200,000 will pay $57 for streetlighting this year.
Last year, taxpayers with a home valued at the same amount paid the following for streetlighting:
– $76 in Alma;
– $45 in Drayton;
– $48 in Glen Allan;
– $825 in Hollen;
– $73 in Moorefield;
– $16 in Riverview Heights; and
– $112 in Rothsay.
In 2006 the costs were:
– $49 in Alma;
– $44 in Drayton;
– $79 in Glen Allan;
– $48 in Hollen;
– $85 in Moorefield;
– $14 in Riverview Heights; and
– $107 in Rothsay.
The streetlighting costs show up on annual tax bills. The new flat rate will be retroactive to Jan. 1 of this year.
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Current reserves for streetlighting total $19,443 and  include $1,084 for Rothsay, $1,260 for Glen Allan, $2,113 for Riverview Heights, $2,840 for Moorefield, $5,808 for Drayton, and $6,338 for Alma.
The money can be spent at council’s discretion via resolution, Givens said.