City of Westland, MI | Street Lighting Assessment

FEATURED PROJECT

City of Westland, Wayne County, MI

Westland, Michigan is the state’s 10th largest municipality, with a population of over 84,000 people who exhibit a great deal of pride in their All-American City.  Westland has a thriving business community along with beautiful residential areas.  The citizens enjoy a wide array of amenities and a quality of life that is second to none.

Infinite opportunities are available in Westland for the recreation aficionado including, more than 40 parks and 1,500 acres of trails, a 9-hole golf course, hockey arena, athletic fields, playscapes, a Farmers and Artisans Market and more.

One of Michigan’s most environmentally friendly cities, Westland has a progressive curbside recycling program with one of the highest participation rates in the nation and the City is raising the bar for cultural experiences with the placement of public art throughout the City.

In 2014, Westland was rated as one of 24/7 Wall Street’s America’s Best 50 Cities to Live, offering residents and visitors an ideal blend of single-family affordable homes, apartments and condominiums, great schools, and access to numerous outdoor activities.  Public safety is delivered by full-service, professional law enforcement and firefighting personnel. Westland Police Department, whose motto is protect and serve, provides emergency dispatch services to four cities and over 100,000 residents; the Western Wayne Fire Association firefighters collaboratively serving the Cities of Wayne and Westland are licensed paramedics who responded to over 13,000 calls for service last year, about 85% being medical based.  They never forget their mission of preserving life and property.

Westland’s philosophy is that government should embrace good business principles.  Providing oversight over the City’s operating budget of $60 million dollars, Westland is the only community in Wayne County with a 3-year balanced budget and an approximately 10 percent budget surplus.

The City provides competitive incentives for those who are interested in investing in Westland, making it one of the hottest investment markets in the region.  Our Fast-Track to Business Team, which consists of key decision makers who work diligently on a development plan will “cut the red tape” and expedite the approval process for new business development.

Click here to explore the City of Westland and learn more!

Project Background

streetlightingappThe City of Westland incurs costs for providing and maintaining street lights throughout the city. This includes ongoing energy costs, and the maintenance of those lights (bulb replacement, repairs/replacement of broken fixtures, etc.). To pay for this, the City of Westland collects a special assessment from property owners.

The energy costs are based on DTE Energy electric rates approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission. DTE provides the city with estimates of the cost of operating each light, based on the type of fixture and wattage. Maintenance funds are needed for required repairs and would include replacement of damaged poles, broken fixtures, bulbs, etc.

A special assessment only lasts for a certain period of time before it expires, and the current assessment expired at the end of 2016. For the City to continue to pay for the street lighting costs, they had to renew the special assessment.

Looking for the most accurate and fair assessment, the city engaged our team to utilize geographic mapping technology.  The process involved a partnership with DTE to integrate key attributes to identify the type, location, and cost of each street light throughout the City. This was critical to define a much more specific amount to be calculated for each property owner. In the past, some properties were not charged a street lighting assessment. However, because all property owners benefit from major road street lights, all properties are being assessed a portion of the cost in this latest roll.

Key GIS Components

The City of Westland Information Technology Department (DoIT team) is leading the way by investing time and resources to develop an enterprise GIS that has been integrated across all departments and operations.  The recent Street Lighting Assessment Project highlighted the effectiveness that an accurate GIS can produce by analyzing multiple data sources.

  • GIS provided the ability to visualize existing assessment information on a parcel basis, critical in identifying discrepancies between neighboring assessments.
  • Incorporated DTE street lighting GIS features to display and analyze lamps by type, wattage, annual operating costs, and lat/long.
  • Identify existing local and major districts.
  • Utilized road centerline, subdivision, and aerial GIS layers to develop practical Major and local road designations for DTE lamps.
    • Local districts were calculated with total DTE costs and evenly distributed across the benefiting parcels.
    • Major Districts were calculated on a sq-ft basis and distributed to each parcel.
  • Developed cloud hosted web applications and maps for project meetings and local district creation.
    • Hard copy map books in certain areas for manual verification
  • Tied in assessing database square footage for total Major road sq-ft cost
    • Identified and excluded non-assessment parcels.
    • Calculated overall sq-ft and per sq-ft cost to apply to individual parcel.
    • Created import file for notification and import to Assessing database.
  • Developed public web application for increased transparency.  Parcel owners and residents could review new assessment, overall change, and compare to neighboring parcels.

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