Authority would fix broken Detroit streetlights - FOX 32 News Chicago

Authority would fix broken Detroit streetlights

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State Senator Jack Brandenburg is on board with lighting Detroit up.  (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com) State Senator Jack Brandenburg is on board with lighting Detroit up. (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com)
LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) -

A whopping 40-percent of the 88,000 streetlights in Detroit don't work and the city doesn't have the money to repair them.

Enter the Michigan legislature.  It could vote soon on legislation to create a new lighting authority, which would then sell bonds and use $12.5-million from the city's utility tax to pay off those bonds and get the job done.

The good news for Detroiters?

"Everyone is held harmless," said Rep. Maureen Stapleton.  "The City of Detroit's residents will not have to pay an extra dime to ensure that we have lights on by next summer."

However, the utility tax also pays for Detroit police officers and diverting money into the lighting system means the cops get fewer dollars, which is why one state senator wants to earmark part of the city income tax for police in order to avoid layoffs.

"Earmarking the income tax for that guarantees that we will have enough money that there should not be one layoff, there should not be any stoppage of critical overtime necessary to fight the crime that's going on in the City of Detroit," said Senator Bert Johnson.

However, none of this will happen until and unless a Macomb County senator signs off.  Why is he willing to do so?

"We do have 140,000 non-residents of Detroit from the five county area that work in Detroit.  It's not safe," said Senator Jack Brandenburg.  "If we want to make Detroit a city again, my opinion, just my instinct, light the city up."

Lawmakers will take up this legislation soon and no state tax dollars will be used to turn the darkness into light.

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