Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert is correct, the proposed lights downtown will increase visitors.
Citizens will have to see for themselves before proclaiming, "Holy moly, the aldermen approved spending more than $50,000 for these lights."
Sample lights outside the memorabilia store confirm these bulbs are merely decorative. The amount of light coming from these bulbs hung 20 feet above the roadway will be insignificant.
Funding is expected to come from the Downtown Business District, which levies its own tax. Belleville Main Street Inc. receives a significant amount of funding from the taxpayers. And from TIF 2, a small tax district downtown.
In addition to the purchase price of $50,000, the city must provide a city truck and work crew for seven days to install the lights. So bottom line, local taxes are paying for the entire project.
When first proposed, Geri Boyer, president of Belleville Main Street Inc., stated that they would pay the operating cost, estimated at $1,200 per year. Now she says only if it's a "noticeable amount." Would you notice if your electric bill increased by $1,200 per year?
Eckert said, "This will bring downtown to the next level." Sounds like the fictional movie quote, "If we build it they will come" -- coincidentally. the same thing St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern said about MidAmerica Airport.
I have no expectations that my comments will persuade a number of aldermen to vote against this project. But I have hope that my perseverance could make them think, "Is this a good use of taxpayers' money?"