Pease Township residents get the chance May 6 to pass a levy and flip the switch on street lights turned off for nearly a year.
Pease Township Trustees are asking voters - except those living in Bridgeport, Brookside, Yorkville and Martins Ferry - to approve a 2-mill levy for five years to cover general operating expenses.
The levy is expected to generate about $100,000 annually, according to Trustee Michael Bianconi.
The dollars collected would be used to pay utility bills for street lights, tear down dilapidated buildings and repair roads.
"Every area in the township needs lit up, cleaned up and fixed up," he said.
Street lights in Pease Township were turned off March 1, 2013 after voters failed to pass two 1-mill levies there in November 2012. Bianconi said a new revenue stream for the township was needed after Ohio leaders opted to cut the local government funds.
In 2003, Pease Township received $67,898 in local government funds, according to information provided by Bianconi.
Ten years later, for 2013, that figure dropped to about $27,000. Bianconi urges frustrated residents to contact the office of Gov. John Kasich about the loss of street lights in the township.
"We have to fend for ourselves," he said. "We are hoping the people support this levy for themselves, and not for anyone else. We are urging people to support the township where they live. No one else is going to. The state isn't. We have to do it ourselves."
Bianconi estimated the street lights cost the township about $1,500 a month in electric expenses. Pease Township has 175 street lights, as well as 45 miles of highway to maintain, he said.
"Just like at your homes, the cost keeps going up," Bianconi said. "If the levy doesn't pass, the lights stay off, our roads continue to deteriorate and our buildings continue to be eyesores. This money won't fix it all, but it's a shot in the arm."