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Council approves Public Lighting Authority

By Mike Sandula
The Michigan Citizen

DETROIT — City Council voted 6-3 to approve articles of incorporation for the proposed Public Lighting Authority. Council members Brenda Jones, JoAnn Watson and Kwame Kenyatta were the dissenting voters.

“The city needs to get out of the business of public lighting … anything else is asking for the status quo,” said Council Pro Tem Gary Brown.

The deadline for an initial plan is March 15.

Adam Hollier, Council liaison for the mayor’s office, estimated there are fewer than 88,000 streetlights, adding “there is no accurate number.” Of those estimated 88,000, roughly 33,000 are on the city’s grid, while the remaining 55,000 belong to DTE.

Beau Taylor, assistant to Detroit’s chief operating officer, said the focus shouldn’t be on the number of lights, but that the city is lit.

“Everyone will have lights. They may not have the same density, but we need to look at what we can afford.”

Watson and David Whitaker, director of Council’s Research and Analysis Division, urged that all residents be treated fairly.

“The authority needs to be mindful of how it treats the citizens, so inverse condemnation does not happen,” Whitaker said.

A five-member board appointed by the mayor and Council will run the authority. Council began interviews Feb. 6.

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