Until the mid-1950s, the City did not require developers of housing, commercial, and industrial property to install street lighting. So, in older areas of the City, most streets did not have streetlights unless the developer voluntarily installed them, or a neighborhood group or their Council Office started a project to install them at the property owners’ expense.
Only those who have street lighting pay for it. Through the purchase of a property which has existing street lighting, or through an assessment for a street lighting project, property owners pay for the installation of street lighting in Los Angeles. Maintenance costs are assessed annually. Annual assessments are not paid for from the basic property taxes or other taxes. All projects that install new lights or upgrade existing systems require a vote of the property owners in compliance with Proposition 218, now part of the California Constitution.
*Proposition 218: In November 1996, California voters passed Proposition 218, the “Right to Vote on Taxes Act.” Proposition 218 requires voter approval before imposition or increase of general taxes, assessments, and specific user fees. Learn more about Prop 218