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Greenfield Recorder – Streetlight decision comes to Shelburne Town Meeting

Voters at the Shelburne Annual Town Meeting will decide Tuesday whether the town will purchase its 101 street lights from Eversource, replacing the sodium vapor lamps with low-wattage LEDs.

Voters at the Shelburne Annual Town Meeting will decide Tuesday whether the town will purchase its 101 street lights from Eversource, replacing the sodium vapor lamps with low-wattage LEDs.
STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

SHELBURNE – Will Shelburne buy its 101 streetlights from Eversource and replace the sodium vapor lamps with low-wattage LEDs that would lower the city’s utility bills and energy consumption?

The voters of the annual municipal council will decide on Tuesday, May 7. They will also consider the city’s $5.7 million budget for fiscal year 2025. The meeting will begin at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School at 6:30 p.m.

Nearby Greenfield owns and maintains all of its streetlights, and nearly half of Massachusetts cities already own or are pursuing the same goal, said Jeff Boettner, chairman of Shelburne’s Streetlight Committee.

Appointed by the Selectboard and using $9,100 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, the Streetlight Committee hired RealTerm Energy Solutions to conduct streetlight-by-streetlight measurements of the lights now owned by Eversource. The commission estimates that the LED lights it plans to purchase would save the city at least 27,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year in electricity, and about $7,000 per year in maintenance costs now paid to Eversource. It would also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 19 tons per year.

According to Boettner, Eversource charges the city about $9,000 a year for streetlight maintenance, “but rates could continue to increase each year. If we did it ourselves, we could probably do it for $2,500 a year because LEDs require very little maintenance.” The LED (low-energy diode) bulbs in question have a 10-year warranty, he said.

Boettner said the committee wants to buy Cooper Lighting – the type of LED lighting owned and operated by the city of Pepperell, which has an observatory in the city and wanted “dark skies.” These lower temperature lamps produce an orange-yellow light, Boettner explains. The higher temperature lamps used by Eversource produce a brighter blue-white hue.

In addition to purchasing new lighting, the committee is considering a “dimulator” that can be programmed to further reduce lighting on lightly traveled residential streets by 35% between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. However, the lights on Route 2 would remain fully illuminated. -power at night.

Article 20 on the city meeting order calls for a transfer of $75,000 from the city’s Stabilization Fund to purchase, install and operate the street lights, but Boettner believes potential energy subsidies could reduce the city’s costs. He said the town is applying for a Green Communities grant that could cover up to $30,000 of the costs, but the project will need Town Meeting support before the grant can be awarded.

About $14,500 of the $75,000 request would be used to purchase Eversource’s streetlight rights, he said. The lights would remain on the existing Eversource poles, which are maintained by the company and also house other utilities. The article requires a two-thirds majority of votes.

Budget

The global budget request is broken down as follows:

■Government – ​​$1.05 million, an increase of approximately $100,000, or 10.8%, over this year’s figures.

■Education — Nearly $3.04 million, an increase of approximately $150,811, or 5.2%.

■Public Safety – $631,715, up 0.8%.

■Highways — $590,606, up 11.8%.

■Health and Sanitation – The $127,373 request represents a 1.3% decrease from this year’s budget.

■Recreation — $39,499, up 14.3%.

■Human services — $221,845, up 2.8%.

Article 8 asks the city to provide $56,284 to fund its share of the Mohawk Trail Regional School District capital budget. An additional $500 will be transferred from the Quintus Allen Trust Fund for this purpose.

Other items

Other purchases are requested with the money from the Stabilization Account. These include $27,000 to purchase and install a new Internet server for City Hall, and $5,000 for a new copier at City Hall, replacing a copier that is ten years old. A separate article asks voters to transfer $428,114 in free excess cash receipts to the Stabilization Account.

The city is also asking for $55,000 from the Housing Trust Fund to pay for half of an elevator at the Arms Library, and another $55,000 to use for deferred maintenance and improvements at the Cowell Gymnasium.

A review of the Mohawk Trail Regional School District Agreement will continue for a second year after the measure did not pass in all Mohawk Trail member cities last year. It describes in detail a proposed change to the formula that determines the rating of cities.

To view the full 32-item warrant and related budget information, visit townofshelburne.com/files/2025_Annual_Town_Meeting_Warrant_-_May_7_2024.pdf.