Paris eyes change to LED streetlights

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PARIS —Town Manager Vic Hodgkins received a preliminary proposal from Realterm Energy about converting all street lights to LED.

According to the proposal, Hodgkins said it would cost the town an estimated $160,418 to continue to lease the streetlight fixtures from Central Maine Power. The town could purchase them for an additional $55,000 making the total cost $213,443.

Currently the town is budgeted for around $55,000 for streetlights for the current fiscal year. Hodgkins said.

Hodgkins said the payback structure would take 4.5 years, with overall operating cost savings at 82% based on current consumption.  Paris’ power bill would drop from the $55,000 it pays now, to $7,490. “It is very much a rabbit worth continuing to chase.” says Hodgkins.

Hodgkins has been in contact with Norway Town Manager Dennis Lajoie on this initiative, who has himself been exploring the LED option through another company. “If the towns of … Norway, Paris, Oxford, and some of the surrounding towns wanted to pool together, we could get a better deal,” said Hodgkins, whose Realterm representative corroborated the assertion.

Robert Celeste, a member of the SAD 17 school board representing Harrison, was granted a request to speak to the board. Celeste said he was not there to represent the views of SAD 17 directors but to discuss the fact that, “the high school needs a new roof.”

Celeste told selectmen that there are four options for a solution. They include “a bond, borrow the money, or hold off until we save $2,000,000; and the roof will have fallen in by then,” he said.

Celeste added, “There is also this huge, $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill.  I listened to what the President had to say about it and he specifically mentioned schools in it.”

Celeste told the board “What I’m trying to do is get the money from the feds …otherwise I’m not going to vote for a bond issue or borrowing it … we’ll spend you into oblivion.  We just bought new instruments and paid over $2,200 an instrument. Wal-Mart sells instruments you know.”

Celeste concluded by imploring the selectboard to write State Representative Bruce Poliquin, and Senators Angus King and Susan Collins urging them to vote for a bill on infrastructure the White House says it will unveil in January, and to include $3 million for SAD 17.

In other news, Hodgkins reported that the Fox School sale is still set to finish in 2017, “by the seat of our pants.”  All the paperwork is signed and returned, “it is in Avesta’s hands, hopefully within the next few days.” An account has already been established for the income from the sale.

In other business, selectmen:

  • approved the renewal a liquor license for the Market Square Restaurant,
  • Summers  thanked the highway department and businesses that took part in Light up Main Street and offered congratulations to the winners, Littlefield’s Flowers and Gift, Luchador Tacos and Bolster’s Decorating Center.
  • Selectmen Chairman Christopher Summers announced that George “Buddy” Coffren has resigned from the SAD 17 school board, citing health issues. In his letter of resignation, which Summers read at the request of Coffren, the veteran school board director said, “I wanted to let the citizens of Oxford Hills and South Paris directly know what an honor it has been to serve the citizens of this community.”

abrown@advertiserdemocrat.com