Officials in Pease Township in Belmont County have shut off all the street lights, citing the loss of local government funds from the State of Ohio, but citizens are saying shutting off the lights is not the answer. It started this week. The 179 street lights in Pease Township have gone dark. Township trustees say it was not an easy decision.
"One of the hardest decisions I think I have ever made," said Pease Township Trustee Roger Weaver. Because I knew it wasn't going to be one that was popular with everybody."
Pease Township encompasses everything from Bridgeport to Yorkville, from Route 214 to Route 250.
Terry Myers of Bridgeport said once the sun goes down, his neighborhood is plunged into darkness.
"Yeah it's really, really dark down there. I mean you can't see nothing," said Myers. "You don't know what's going on."
James Myers said the darkness is only good for one thing: crime.
"People's been breaking into houses and stealing this and that and it's really not good to have the lights out," James Myers said.
Lee Rush of Lee's Car Clean said drivers turning off National Road onto side streets won't be able to see where they're going.
"Where they've turned the lights out at, they've turned them out where people turn into DuBois Street, down at all these other exits," he said. "And you can go past'em you know, before you see 'em. And its just gonna cause an accident."
Township trustees say when they lost $40,000 in local government funds, they put a levy on the ballot last fall. They circulated flyers urging people to vote yes, but the levy was defeated. The flyers didn't get much attention.
"There's so much you get through the mail at election time, they might have just pitched it," said Weaver.
Now people are in the dark and they're angry. They are being told they can personally take over payment for a street light that's close to their home. By calling AEP at 1-800-672-2231, you can arrange to have a street light turned on and turned toward your property, but you would have to pay the bill.