Sunderland may see LED streetlights soon

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For the Bulletin
Thursday, August 31, 2017

SUNDERLAND — Add LED streetlights to the growing list of town improvements that could happen soon.

The Select Board signed a memorandum of understanding with the state Association of Planning Commissions Aug. 21, a necessary step to get state reimbursement.

“What that will do is reserve grant funds for the town so we can do the conversion,” Town Administrator Sherry Patch said. “We appropriated capital funds to purchase the lights, that was step one.”

If all goes as planned, streetlights throughout town will be converted to LED. The lights and hardware have already been purchased by the town, which will make its money back in savings over about three years.

“We have to up-front the money (for conversion), and then it’s paid back through incentives and through partial grants,” Patch said. “The savings for that is $6,000 per year on streetlights. So there’s about a three-year payback.”

Other ongoing town projects include senior housing, roadway improvements and a proposed park and riverside walkway behind the municipal offices.

Conversion work covered by the state’s money includes an audit, designs, project management and labor. That’s covered by a $4,599 grant, and there’s also a $5,628 state utility incentive.

“The actual change out is essentially a three-year buydown,” said Selectman Scott Bergeron.

Town residents will have a say in the process at a town meeting later this year, which hasn’t been scheduled yet.

“If everything goes accordingly, and we have a fall town meeting and get approval, the LED conversion will take place next summer,” Patch said.