By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — There are some 1,365 street lights lining the more than 100 miles of roadways throughout the city, all of which may soon be replaced by more efficient, longer lasting LED lights.
The City Council first broached the subject in the course of preparing the 2016-2017 municipal budget, but deferred a decision on learning that Eversource, which offers rebates of $100 per fixture up to a maximum of $100,000, had committed funding for the program this year.
City Manager Scott Myers said that between $350 and $375 per fixture, the cost of the project would fall between $450,000 and $500,000. However, he described the project as "self-financing," explaining that the city budgets $212,000 annually for street lighting, at least half of which would be saved by installing the more efficient LED lights. By applying the savings to service the debt incurred to install the lights, the project would pay for itself in four-and-a-half years without adding to the budget. Alternatively, he suggested that extending the term of the borrowing and reducing the annual payment payback period would leave a positive balance in the appropriation for street lighting that could be applied to other purposes.
The Finance Committee will meet prior to the regularly scheduled council meeting on Sept. 12 to consider how to finance the project.
LED lighting consumes less energy and has a life span of 10 to 15 years, two to four times longer than conventional street lighting, which spares maintenance costs. LED lights turn on and off quickly and restart immediately after a power outage. By directing light downward on to the roadway, LED lights cast less glare into the eyes of motorists.
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