HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) - Lighting challenged neighborhoods were in the spotlight Monday evening at the city’s weekly council meeting.
Highland Park’s mayor once again defended himself, saying he is not to blame for how and where the street lamps were removed.
“I hear a lot of who did what. Finger pointing. I don’t get into that. I can tell you this – I did not say where the lights would be decommissioned or placed,” Mayor Hubert Yopp said at the meeting.
Yopp conceded he did send a consultant to the negotiations with DTE and council members where the light removal plan was created.
The city council president said the plan itself should not be controversial – the lights were removed because Highland Park simply could not afford its monthly DTE bill.
“I just want the record to show that we as a group – as a council and a representative of Mayor Yopp’s – made that decision together to try and better our city,” said Council President Norma J. Lewis.
Highland Park owed DTE $4-million in unpaid bills. As part of the removal plan DTE unplugged 1,400 bulbs and forgave the debt. The city has 500 left over. Most of the lamps are on busier streets.
Council members told residents at the meeting that the current lighting in Highland Park is now similar to that of other suburbs.
Although residents have been outspoken in their criticism of the plan, those who attended Monday’s meeting were sympathetic to the mayor and council.
“We used to have an emergency financial manager. We don’t want to go back to that,” said resident Samuel Billington.
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