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Go Green - Grant Lights Up Oakdale

POSTED August 31, 2011 2:52 a.m.

The City of Oakdale is going green, thanks in part to a $100,000 stimulus grant from the federal government that will allow the city to replace energy-sucking streetlights with energy-efficient green technology.
According to Joe Leach, Director of Public Works for the City of Oakdale, they will be replacing 800 city-owned street lamps with a new type of lamp that uses magnetic infusion to spark the light, which will emit a white glow rather than the orange glow typical to the high pressure sodium lamps that the city currently uses.
Already the city replaced one streetlamp with the new bulb technology and it’s in a location right in the middle of town — at the H-B Saloon.
“You probably wouldn’t even notice that it’s different,” said Anthony Smith, Public Works. “But the color of the light is different. Instead of orange it’s white.”
But the difference will be seen in the electric bill.
Currently, the city pays $130,000 for street lighting and traffic signals, which is an approximate $39,000 reduction over the last two years due to the city turning off “non-essential” street lamps throughout the city.
With the new technology, which uses approximately 50 percent less energy than their out-dated counterparts, the city is looking at a potentially cost-saving measure.
The cost is also lower to maintain the new technology, said Leach.
“A lot of large cities are doing this,” Leach said, referencing the City of Oakland as an example. “There are quite a few cities using this technology to save money. A lot of different cities are facing the same kind of financial difficulty and it’s one of the best options to save money.”
Once city council members approve the process, it will be a three- to six-month process to replace all the street lamps.
“We’d like to get the project started at the first of the year,” Leach said.
In the interim, Leach added, citizens can participate in the Adopt-A-Streetlamp program offered by the city.
“It’s $25 a month to adopt a streetlamp. A number of citizens have banded together to split the cost so it lessens the cost individually,” Leach said.
The program is run through City Hall Finance Department and interested citizens can sign up for the program and have the cost added to their monthly water bill.
The stimulus grant will also cover the cost of upgrading the city’s well water motors. Currently, the motors operate either 100 percent “on” or “off. The new motors will enable Public Works to adjust the flow according to demand.
“It’s another cost-saving measure,” Leach said. “It could save $2,000 per month per well.”

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