Street Light Policy
Petitions to establish a street light district within the County are accepted for presentation to the Public Works and Engineering Services Committee from the first week in October to the first week in May. The cost will be levied as a special tax against the property within the district and shown on the property tax bill. The rate is to be determined by the Board of Commissioners annually. This rate is subject to increase as the cost of servicing increases.
If the proposed street light district represents less than 50% homeowner-owned lots, the developer will be responsible to petition the County for lights and will pay, at the time the petition is submitted, the current tax rate for each lot within the district. This does not eliminate the first year’s tax for these lots. If the district is represented 50% or greater homeowner owned lots, there is no one- time fee prior to installation. In either case, the petition must represent a minimum of 75% of all lots within the proposed district. The petition must be submitted to the Engineering Services Department for processing no later than three (3) months from the date of issuance. If not, a new petition must be generated with a current date. Once the petition has been submitted and processed, no signatures can be added or removed from the petition.
A public hearing to install street lights is held by the Public Works and Engineering Services Committee. The notice is advertised in the County’s legal organ, The Columbia News Times, prior to the public hearing and sent to all property owners affected within the proposed street light district. A letter, along with a copy of the plat showing the proposed district, is forwarded to the Power Company to determine the number of lights to be installed and their location for adequate lighting. After approval by the Committee, the petition is forwarded to the full Board of Commissioners for final approval. When approved, a resolution to establish a street light district is passed by the Board and signed by the Chairman. The Power Company is then notified that the proposed street light district has been approved and is authorized to proceed with the installation of lights.
The purpose of street lights is to safely light the street for vehicular traffic and provide some level of security to the property owner. Street lights are not intended as security lighting, although homes, which border closely to the street sometimes benefit from the illumination of that side of the house fronting on the street. If the homeowner requires additional security lighting, it would be necessary to install those privately or contract through the Power Company. However, if the additional lighting is contracted through the Power Company, it cannot be included in the street light tax district.
For more information regarding Columbia County's Street Light Policy, please contact Traffic Engineering and Operations at 706-868-4223.