PARIS — Residents will discuss the possibility of shutting off 41 streetlights in town during a public hearing Sept. 16.

Each streetlight costs between $120 and $294 per year, according to a list compiled by the town office. The town could save a total of $6,384 per year by shutting off the lights.

The 2013-14 town budget submitted to voters in June eliminated $3,500 for 21 streetlights, but residents restored the funding at town meeting.

On Wednesday, Town Manager Amy Bernard said Paris Police Department Officer Ray Paar had compiled a more extensive list of 41 streetlights that could be turned off without jeopardizing public safety.

The public hearing is being held to gauge residents’ interest in the proposal. In June, selectmen floated the idea of having residents pay out of pocket to keep the streetlights if they wanted them.

Eleven of the streetlights are on Paris Hill Road. Four more are on Charles Street, three others are on High Street and three are on Pine Street. Others are scattered around town, including Deering, Hill, Myrtle, Lincoln, Pine and Tremont streets, and Western and Prospect avenues.

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Notices alerting residents to the public hearing and the possibility of losing streetlights have been taped on the lights slated for removal since early July.

Speaking Wednesday at her home on the north end of Paris Hill Road, Elizabeth Miller said she was against losing the streetlights.

One of the lights slated for possible removal stands across the street from the house she has shared with her husband and three sons for 13 years.

Miller said she didn’t buy the argument that the lights could be lost because there was reportedly less crime in the area.

Her home has been vandalized twice in the time she and her family have lived there, Miller said. She worried that the loss of streetlights could invite more criminal activity, especially in her neighborhood, where some of the many homes for sale are unoccupied. 

“How do we know the crime isn’t lower because we have streetlights here?” she asked. “Maybe there’s a little cause and effect there.”

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Moreover, her property taxes have gone up more than $1,000 in the past year, and paying higher taxes to the town while losing services was hard for her to stomach, she said.

Her husband, however, was all for removing the lights, she confided.

“He thinks it’s going to save money and actually it’s going to be nicer because everything’s going to be darker, we’ll be able to see the sky better,” Miller said.

Speaking on the porch of his home on Lincoln Street, Rick Gromek said he enjoyed having the streetlight, posted practically in his backyard, but wasn’t willing to pay out of pocket to keep it burning.

“I’ll go without before I have to pay for it,” Gromek said.

Another Paris Hill Road resident, who declined to give his name, said he wasn’t aware of the proposal to shut off the lights.

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“I thought those were for a lost cat or something,” he said, referencing the signs on the streetlight near his home.

Robert Shuttle, who has owned his home on Paris Hill Road for 30 years, said he didn’t know about the details of the proposal, but he was against losing the lights.

Crime wasn’t a worry, but he often walked along his road early in the morning and was worried about the traffic, which can be heavy at times, Shuttle said.

Although he was against having the lights shut off, Shuttle didn’t plan on attending the public hearing.

“They don’t listen to you anyway,” Shuttle said. “They’ll do what they want.”

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