NORWAY – Selectman Les Flanders may soon be wandering the streets of Norway in search of dark places.

“I haven’t started out yet, but if someone feels they know of a spot that needs light they should call the Town Hall,” he said.

The pending field trip was prompted by a request several weeks ago to selectmen for a streetlight at Crockett Ridge and Korhonen roads.

When questions arose about the light’s costs and the need, selectmen tabled a decision until they could evaluate the town’s street lighting situation.

Part of that evaluation will be to determine where residents feel they need more lighting, Flanders said.

Town Manager David Holt said the situation is tricky because there must be a balance between the needs of residents and the restrictions of the town budget.

“Street lights are a good example of that,” Holt said. “I’d say most people would want more than less, but there’s a cost increase with it.”

Norway budgeted $42,000 to pay for the fiscal 2008 street lighting account, Holt said. The street lights are leased from Central Maine Power and charges vary from month to month.

In November, the town was billed $4,033, including $2,614 in electricity delivery charges and $1,419 in supply charges, according to a CMP bill.

The rates per light vary due to their size, Holt said.

The town was charged by CMP for 64 sodium enclosed 50-watt streetlights that cost $7.86 per unit in November. A metal halide flood 250-watt street light was $20.24 per unit. Metal halide lamps produce “white light” and are usually used for floodlighting and sports lighting. The town has only one that size. Most of the town’s 266 streetlights are sodium-enclosed 50-, 100- and 150-watt units, which are considered economic to run, according to industry standards.

While some town services, such as adding more police officers, are pretty straight forward in terms of need, Holt said the issue of lights is different.

Because a person’s job is not tied into the service when considering lighting, the town must look at what’s appropriate. Unless there was a safety issue, Holt said he would be inclined to try to save money, rather than spend more in that area.

“We often put lights at intersections and dark places where cars can’t see,” Holt said. In the village, a streetlight shines from every other pole.

Historically, rural farmers usually didn’t want lights, Holt said. But as subdivisions begin to spring up outside of the village, he said, there are more demands for streetlighting.

It’s a tough decision, the manager said.

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