Council President Lederman Urges Eversource Tax Revenue Be Used to Upgrade Street Lights Citywide
Springfield City Council President Jesse Lederman is renewing his call for the City of Springfield to invest in converting the city’s more than 13,000 street lights to more reliable, durable, and efficient LED street lights.
“Springfield residents and businesses are tired of being left in the dark by broken and outdated lighting infrastructure,” said Lederman, “Springfield remains one of the few cities that has not upgraded our street lights. This is the time to get it done. It is a public safety issue, it is an economic development issue, it is a neighborhood quality of life issue. Bottom line, we need street lights that work.”
In a letter e-mailed to Mayor Domenic Sarno, Chief Financial Officer T.J. Plante, and DPW Director Chris Cignoli on Thursday, Council President Lederman urged the administration to leverage a portion of the recent $41 million in back-taxes paid by Eversource to start the transition to more modern streetlight technology, and identify additional funding sources to support the project.
“This is a worthy capital project that will benefit every neighborhood in Springfield,” said Lederman, “Modern LED lighting technology provides better lighting, has a longer lifespan, is more energy efficient and costs less to operate. Some models can even alert us when a streetlight goes out so it can be repaired promptly.”
The street lights are currently owned and maintained by Eversource at a cost of over $3 million a year to the City of Springfield for electricity and maintenance. If acquired and converted, this bill could be lowered significantly through reduced energy use and less frequently required maintenance.
“By drawing on multiple funding sources including a portion of the revenue recently received in back taxes from Eversource itself, energy efficiency grants, municipal bonding, and other possible state and federal resources, we can get this project done and in the long term provide better lighting at a lower cost to city tax-payers,” said Lederman.
Council President Lederman has long advocated for the city to address its aging street lights, introducing a resolution in 2018 calling for an audit of lighting across the city and advocating for the repair of over 600 streetlights at one time.