WEEDSPORT — The village of Weedsport became a clean energy community and voted to save more than $300,000 in a regular village board meeting on Wednesday.
For the past few months, the village has been working with Amanda Mazzoni of the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board to make a decision on converting the streetlights in the village, about 200, to LED lights.
Based on the 205 lights eligible to be transformed into LED streetlights by NYSEG, Mazzoni presented the village with two different ways to go about the update. The village could opt for a utility purchase option that would effectively mean that the village would pay NYSEG to buy out the lifetime value of their current lights, about $5,900, and NYSEG would transform and then own and operate the new lights. The other option, a municipal purchase option, would entail the village purchasing all of the lights and utilities, about a $119,000 net cost with 10-year financing, and assuming all responsibility for upkeep of the lights.
Although the annual and lifetime savings to the village would be about the same for each option, Mazzoni said, with financing the upfront costs would be substantially higher for the municipal-owned option and the lifetime savings, based on an expected 20-year life of the lights, would be $280,000.
The village voted to pursue the utility purchase option presented by Mazzoni, which will save Weedsport $15,600 a year — a 56 percent reduction from current costs — for a total projected lifetime savings of $314,000. Mazzoni added that there would also be a 72 percent annual energy savings. The village's current lights, Mazzoni said, range from 70-250 watts, while the new LED lights would range from about 20-80 watts.
Mazzoni said most municipalities in central New York are opting for the utility purchase option because unless there is enough money upfront for the municipal purchase, the lifetime savings are higher with the utility scenario. She added that, being smaller projects, many municipalities may struggle to find a contractor willing to take on the maintenance.
After deciding on the LED conversion, the village board also voted to pass a benchmarking resolution which states that the village will track, and post to its website, the annual energy uses in all municipal buildings more than 1,000 square feet in size.
Village Treasurer Diane Scheufele said that with decision to convert to LED streetlights, if the village passed the benchmarking resolution it would make the village eligible to become a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority Clean Energy Community. As a clean energy community, the village would then be able to apply for a $5,000 grant from NYSERDA that would then, if received, effectively cover the cost to buy out their lights from NYSEG, Scheufele said.
In other news:
• The Officer in Charge of the Weedsport Police Department, Greg Gilfus, announced to the board of trustees that the department has a school resource officer candidate for the Weedsport Central School District.
Gilfus said there is an officer retiring from the Auburn Police Department and once the village is able to get a state waiver that will allow the SRO to get paid more than the government cap of $30,000 for retired officers, the officer plans to retire to take on the job.
Gilfus said that the agreement between the school and the village just needs to be fine tuned, but once the waiver is received they should be ready to move forward.
The officer's salary, paid by the school, will be $50,000 and work time will be split between the elementary and high school. Gilfus said once the waiver is approved, the officer will put in the required 45-day retirement notice and hopefully begin the SRO role between Thanksgiving and Christmas.