Keeping the streetlights on in New Matamoras is a high priority for resident Fancie Smith, who has no problem supporting a five-year replacement levy that will be on Tuesday's general election ballot.
"We need those streetlights to help keep the local crime rate down," she said. "This summer a group of vandals went through the business area, slicing tires and breaking windows.
"I've lived here eight years now, and the street signs at the corner of Virgin Alley and State Route 7 has been stolen at least eight times," Smith added. "That can be dangerous if an ambulance or rescue unit is looking for your street during an emergency."
New Matamoras Mayor Dennis Agin said the 2-mill renewal levy is not an increase and simply continues the property tax assessment for another five years.
"We just use it to help pay for the streetlights," he said. "It's surprising how much it costs to keep them on. We currently pay about $1,000 a month, but the bills are usually higher in winter when the nights are longer."
Agin said flyers have been distributed to residents, explaining the levy and why it's so important.
Proposed tax levy
(Replacement) for Matamoras Village:
A replacement of a tax for the benefit of the Village of Matamoras for the purpose of current operating expenses at a rate not exceeding 2 mills for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to 20-cents for each $100 of valuation, for a period of 5 years, commencing in 2012, first due in calendar year 2013.
Source: Washington County Board of Elections www.electionsonthe.net
"We've had some questions about it, but we want people to know that we're just asking for the same amount we've had for the last five years," he said.
The levy raises about $20,000 annually for streetlight utility bills and maintenance, Agin said.
New Matamoras resident Debbie Riggs said she and her husband have been helping spread word about the levy by handing out some of the flyers.
"We're telling everyone it's just a renewal levy," she said. "It would be pretty dark around here if it didn't pass."
"It keeps our businesses and homes safe," she said, noting that well-lit areas of town are less susceptible to vandalism.