Common Council eyes purchasing street lights
ONEIDA, N.Y. » The city is moving forward with LED streetlight replacements.
Common Council plans on buying back the city’s streetlights from National Grid in order to save the city on energy costs, but rather than wrap the buyback into updating downtown’s streetscape, they’re looking at separating the two projects.
“You’ve got to weigh paying for it and how far you want to go,” said Ward 2 councilor Mike Bowe.
While Mayor Leo Matzke was for updating the downtown lighting and streetscape at the same time, the council overall felt that replacing the streetlights first then tackling downtown would make more financial sense, since the buyback
will generate revenue for the city. Those funds can then be put back into the streetscaping work.
Currently, the city pays National Grid for the use of more than 800 poles and light fixtures, for a total of about $165,000 a year. By buying back the lights, the city could immediately begin saving roughly $85,000 a year in facility costs. Architecture firm Wendel has laid out a 20-year plan for the city that would cost an es- timated $1.6 million.
“Upgrading the lighting makes perfect financial sense,” said Ward 6 councilor Tom Simchik.
City planner Cassie Rose and city engineer Jon Rauscher both said the city also has options for grants to help cover the streetscaping costs, which they plan on pursuing. Rauscher also noted there will be a lot of public discussion and feedback in relation to the city’s plans going forward.
For now, councilors plan on voting for a design plan at one of their September meetings.
Oneida Common Councilors discuss updating the city’s streetlights to LEDs at their meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017.