AUBURN – The city will try to save $15,000 per year by dimming 10 percent of the city’s leased street lights.

Councilors heard a plan to remove 151 lamps from along side city roads, part of an effort to cut costs. City Electrician Charlie DeAngelis said staff rated those lamps to be the least necessary.

“We’ve been very careful where we put new lights over the years, making sure they’d really be useful,” DeAngelis said. “Our goal was to find 10 percent that could be removed without impacting safety, and I think we’ve done it.”

DeAngelis said crews should begin removing the lamps over the next three months.

The city currently leases about 1,447 street lamps from Central Maine Power, paying about $250,000 per year. DeAngelis said the reduction is part of an effort to cut costs that includes replacing old bulbs with more energy efficient LED lights. He estimated the city could save up to $100,000 on street lights.

The city owns another 300 street light, mostly downtown.

City Manager Glenn Aho said that the lamps scheduled to be removed are no longer necessary. Many are redundant, with privately owned lights nearby.

“I don’t think it makes sense to have taxpayers keep a light going if it makes more sense for a private business to have one,” Aho said.

Gary Tetreault, of 16 Hazel St., urged councilors to take no action until they’d studied where each and every light is.

“What I want is a policy about, a process to determine where these light should be,” he said. “It’s not right for them to just decide and remove the lights.”

But Councilor Ray Berube said street lights might not be as important as they once were.

“I know that I have a motion sensor light on my outside, and it flicks on if someone walks by,” he said. “I think that makes more sense. I’d rather have them stay off when they’re not needed.”

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