Columbia County residents might soon start paying more to light up their streets.
County officials are considering an $11 increase on streetlight fees charged each year as part of homeowner property tax bills.
The fee is $43 per household for those residing within a streetlight district. County officials want to raise that to $54 next year, with the fee increasing each year up to $63 by 2013.
This would be the first increase in the streetlight fee in 16 years, said Columbia County Development Services Director Richard Harmon.
A recent audit of the fee structure showed that the county is footing an unfair burden to keep the lights on and that the deficit is growing.
The deficit is about $500,000.
That figure could grow to $2 million if action isn't taken, Deputy Administrator Scott Johnson said.
Changes to the fee structure might also include a mechanism for automatic increases based on market forces and annual audits.
County officials asked the county commission at a committee meeting Tuesday to approve the resolution before Tax Commissioner Kay Allen sends out tax bills Nov. 6.
To increase the fee, the commission must approve a resolution twice.
The first reading of the resolution likely will come at Tuesday's commission meeting.
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