Muncie Goes Dark

I’ve been to Muncie. It seems like the kind of place that has certainly fallen from its glory days. To save money, they’re cutting street lights. It’s no mystery that crime goes up with the lights go down and people know it. That’s why I put this on par with Beech Grove City School’s ultimatum that if they didn’t get to raise taxes, they would cut school bus service.

From Muncie:

City council last month slashed the Board of Works electricity line item from $630,000 to $315,000 in an effort to balance the 2010 budget. It was unclear to what extent the cuts would affect overhead street lighting, though some council members had suggested eliminating every other light.
At Monday night’s council meeting, Heuer delivered bad news.
Included in the line item are traffic signals and power for city hall, a fact that had gone undiscussed in prior public meetings and interviews.
City hall electricity costs about $64,000 and traffic signals cost about $91,000 per year, leaving only $160,000 to pay for overhead street lights in 2010, Heuer said.
“Only 603 street lights could remain on,” Heuer said.
Muncie currently has 4,107 street lights in service.

City council last month slashed the Board of Works electricity line item from $630,000 to $315,000 in an effort to balance the 2010 budget. It was unclear to what extent the cuts would affect overhead street lighting, though some council members had suggested eliminating every other light.

City hall electricity costs about $64,000 and traffic signals cost about $91,000 per year, leaving only $160,000 to pay for overhead street lights in 2010, Heuer said.

“Only 603 street lights could remain on,” Heuer said.

Muncie currently has 4,107 street lights in service.

They’re two thoughts that one can have here:

  1. The city is strapped and has come to the last resort of shutting off lights (and closing their animal shelter, which isn’t mentioned here).
  2. The city is inept and no one person or business is going to locate to a city in such disorder, only further aggravating problems.

These issues grab attention and headlines and it’s an easy way for cities and towns to get people irked at the legislature for tinkering with their revenue. Although, most everyone supports property tax caps in this state.

Wouldn’t it be easier to consolidate services and purchases with your school, perhaps even the large public university sitting within your city and with Delaware County government? Has anyone considered shuttering public buildings and consolidating libraries and schools to fit with your declining population? How about using more non-violent prisoners to pickup slack from declining staff with your public works department?

Again, this is not that hard.

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