You might not believe what Lorain wants to charge residents for, to offset budget crunch

Posted at 4:39 PM, Jun 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-10 08:22:41-04

Frank Pelusi has been a Lorain tailor for 50 years.


He remembers when Lorain was thriving, now he sees it struggling.


He knows layoffs at the nearby steel plant hurt city revenue, but he's shocked about the proposal by city leaders to raise cash by charging people for streetlights.


"I think it's nuts, pretty soon they are going to charge you for using the toilet,” Pelusi said.


Operating street lights costs Lorain about $700,000 per year.


City leaders are desperately searching for ways to cut a 3.6 million dollar deficit and avoid firefighter layoffs.


"These are homes that would have to pay an extra tax. It wouldn't be fair to them, to tax them, when the tax wasn't there when they first bought the house,” councilman Angel Arroyo said.


If the street light fee comes up for a vote, Arroyo said he'll say no.


Mayor Chase Ritenauer declined to comment on the proposed fee saying it's still in committee.


The fee could cost some homeowners anywhere from several dollars to $50 or more a year -- and large businesses thousands.


"It could be groceries that they need. Even if $40 to $50 to a family might not be a lot, it's a lot to somebody that doesn't have anything,” Arroyo said.


Dayton has a street light fee.