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Highland Park, MI tears out streetlights to save money on electric bills

Michigan City Removes Streetlights In Desperate Budget Cut | ThinkProgress

The latest consequence of extreme austerity is in Highland Park, Michigan, which has not only turned off all of its streetlights, but also ripped out the light poles — a telling sign that its darkening of the streets is permanent. With an unemployment rate at 22 percent and a city debt of $58 million, Highland Park could no longer afford to pay the electric bills: The city is $58 million in debt and has many more people than jobs, plus dozens of burned-out or vacant houses and buildings. With fewer than 12,000 residents, its population has dwindled to half the level from 20 years ago. Faced with a $4 million electric bill that required $60,000 monthly payments, Mayor Hubert Yopp asked the City Council to consider reducing lighting. Council members reluctantly approved it, even in an election year. In Highland Park, “the median household income is $18,700, compared with $48,700 statewide. And 42 percent of the city’s residents live in poverty.” The city has seen a precipitous drop in population over the last few decades.