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Examiner
  • Independence City Council OKs LED streetlights

  • It’s not often that the Independence City Council considers a $3.3 million item as a routine matter.

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  • It’s not often that the Independence City Council considers a $3.3 million item as a routine matter.
    Then again, it’s not at every City Council meeting that members consider replacing thousands of city street lights with LED technology.
    The council Monday unanimously approved purchasing light-emitting diode streetlights  from a subsidiary of Philips North America. Across Independence, about 11,000 lights will be replaced within a six-month period, going on the existing poles at the heights of the old lights.
    Bonds issued last December included the funding for the LED street lights conversion. The lights are expected to last 20 to 25 years, compared to five years for the city’s existing high-pressure sodium and mercury-vapor lights.
    “It’s going to be quite a significant savings for the city in energy, and the payback on the lights will be a little under five years,” Independence Power & Light Department Director Leon Daggett said. “It’s a win-win for IPL. It’s a win-win for the city, and it’s a win-win for the citizens of Independence.”
    Although it’s rare to see a multimillion dollar purchase order on the consent agenda, it’s not unheard of. A purchase order could involve purchasing new sand/salt for Public Works, office supplies or LED streetlights and is different from a contract for services, City Manager Robert Heacock said.
    The $3.3 million purchase order marked the first step, Daggett said. In several weeks, the City Council will consider a separate contract for installation of the lights. That item will be in an ordinance and will be read twice before the City Council.
    “Hopefully, the first of April, we’ll be putting the lights in the air,” Daggett said.
    The contractor and IPL will work together in sponsoring public meetings to educate citizens on what is taking place. Mayor Don Reimal asked Daggett if he knew where the new light installations would begin and whether IPL had a map and timeline of the project.
    “We’re going to get the contractor on board,” Daggett said, “and then we’ll work with the contractor to decide what’s the best areas to start.”
    With an original estimated price tag of $9 million, Daggett said he’s trying to bring the total cost to less than $4 million. Thanks to Philips and IPL staff negotiations, the purchase price for the lights changed from $3,660,212 to $3,321,433, for a cost savings of nearly $339,000.
    The Public Utilities Advisory Board endorsed the concept of LED street lights in December. City Management Analyst Zachary Walker also reviewed the contract.
    Three years ago, IPL used federal grant dollars to install lights in its LED pilot program. Those lights were in the Stone Canyon residential neighborhood, in a parking lot near City Hall and along Little Blue Parkway.
    Page 2 of 2 - At-Large Council Member Jim Schultz asked whether the pilot program LED lights would remain in place or would be replaced with new lights.
    “Definitely, we’ll use those. We won’t throw those away,” Daggett said. “They’ll be used in different locations. We’ll use them around different parks or anywhere we can place them.”
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