Ownership and Maintenance
Streetlights in the Town of Tonawanda are owned and maintained by the Town. On your Town of Tonawanda property tax bill you will see a line item reflecting your property's streetlight tax and reflects your share of the cost to maintain the streetlights and pay for their energy use. New York State law determines the policies, while cities, towns and villages cover the cost by general tax levy.

Report a Street Light Concern
If you notice a street light that needs attention, you can use the Town of Tonawanda Streetlight Outage Reporting Form or contact Collin deGuehery of the Engineering Department at (716) 877-8805.

To Form a Lighting District

To form a lighting district, use the following steps:

  • Citizens express their desire to form a lighting district in their neighborhood
  • A neighborhood representative conducts a preliminary survey with materials provided by the town to determine if there is neighborhood interest in the project
  • Should there be enough interest based on this survey, the Town Legal Department proceeds with a formal petition
  • A 51% of assessed value majority is needed
  • A public hearing is held by the Town Board
  • A decision is then made whether to proceed or not

If the proposal passes, a “Consolidated Lighting District” item is added to your property tax bill that represents yearly energy and maintenance expenses. An approximate tax rate is $2.05 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

The town then proceeds to design and complete the project. The location of the streetlights to be installed will be determined at this stage.

Contact Us
For more information please contact the Engineering Department at (716) 877-8805

Additional Information on Street Lights

Residential Lighting Districts
Historically, residential lighting districts have been in operation since 1928 in District 1 (Old Towne). Over the years, districts were added as new areas were developed and population grew. As development took place, several large developers created area lighting districts which covered broad areas and lighting was put in place when actual building took place. This simplified the installation of the street lighting program as opposed to a large number of small districts, some only one block in size, petitioned by area property owners.

Formation of Districts
Districts were formed only when owners petitioned the service and agreed to accept the cost. In the case of the developer, the developer initiated requests. It was simple since at the time there was a single owner of the larger tracts. Otherwise the initiation came from property owners of the specific areas, assisted by the town, to approve or disapprove the lighting district creation. A minimum of a 51% majority of the assessed value of parcels in the proposed district must be made.

New and Consolidated Districts
Since the 1980s some new districts were formed, and the same number rejected, mostly because of the costs assessed on an ad valorem base. Also, since the 1980s, a number of districts were consolidated to ease the administrative burden and cost - groupings were based on similar tax rates. At the same time a renovation program was undertaken by the town with National Grid (formerly Niagara Mohawk) to upgrade the quality of lighting and reduce energy costs by using high-pressure sodium luminaries.

Consolidated Townwide Residential Lighting District
As a result of these innovative programs we were able to conclude the plan to combine all but one residential district into a consolidated townwide residential lighting district. This was approved through public information sessions and ultimately approved at a public hearing on October 25, 1999. The result was a single tax rate per $1,000 townwide, which actually reduced the cost for a vast majority of town residents.

Types of lighting systems include:

  1. General Highway (Boulevard) District – This district includes all main thoroughfares in various areas of the town such as Sheridan Drive, Colvin Boulevard, Delaware Avenue, Military Avenue, Niagara Falls Boulevard and the like. Street light costs are borne by all town residents.
  2. Kenilworth - This residential district is bounded by Niagara Falls Boulevard, Kenmore Avenue, Montrose Avenue and Chalmers Avenue.
  3. Consolidated Districts – Formerly 114 residential districts, except Kenilworth, these were merged in 1999. Streetlight costs are borne by each district.