By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Mar 23, 2021 at 8:31 AM

On Monday, the City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works announced that property owners in the city will now be charged a quarterly fee for the operating costs of the street lighting system.

The fee, DPW says, "ensures city’s vital street light system is reliably funded," because, "this dedicated funding source protects it from future budget pressures."

The first charges will appear on second quarter municipal service bills, which also include fees for water and sewer usage.

The fee was approved as part of the 2021 city budget.

Property owners in all but two Milwaukee neighborhoods where there are no street lights will pay $1 per linear foot of street frontage per year.

As an example, a property with 40 feet of street frontage will be billed $40 annually, in $10 quarterly payments. Corner lots will pay only based on the shorter of its two frontages.

The city has more than 77,000 street lights that, according to DPW, "improve residents’ perception of safety," and protest motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.

"The Street Lighting Charge will provide the annual operating cost of street light service, repair, maintenance, customer service and electric power. The charge also funds new lighting improvements designed to improve safety."

If a street light is broken, call (414) 286-2489 to report it.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.