Friday, July 10, 2020

Council Looks to $700K Grant For New Street Lights

The image from the proposal four years ago shows the clearer quality of light, as well as the energy savings.
Things may soon get demonstrably brighter on Pottstown streets.

On Monday, council is expected to vote to approve applying for a grant to replace 1,821 of the mercury vapor and high-pressure sodium street lights that have lit the borough's streets since the 1960s with light emitting diodes, or LED lights.

Four years ago, council rejected a proposal to replace those lights, largely because it would have required taking out a $50 million bond, in concert with 40 other municipalities.

It would have taken 10 to 12 years for the electricity savings to pay back the loan.

But according to Kourtney High, the borough's grants administrator, the state grant for which the borough will apply is $700,000, is a grant, not a loan.

"Back then, council didn't have the appetite to take on more debt, but now that it's a grant, its kind of a no-brainer," said Borough Manager Justin Keller.

Administered by the Department of Community and Economic Development, the grant requires a borough 30 percent match of $210,600.

But savings from lower electric bills will cover that cost is 16 months, she said.

A $96,790 rebate from PECO and $113,000 in the reserves of the streetlight fund, will make the match easy to raise, she said.

The lights only need to be replaced every 10 years or so, and after 20 years, the operational and electrical savings would total $2.4 million, said High.

The savings could also help to put money back into the capital fund to pay for major repairs, said Keller.

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