Monday, April 26, 2010

[Update] Streetlight favoritism

Posted By on Mon, Apr 26, 2010 at 11:03 AM

Sean Paige: Crying foul.
  • Sean Paige: Crying foul.

[Updated: Monday 5:04 p.m.] Today at the City Council meeting, several Councilors expressed concerns that the darkening of streetlights — which was a budget-trimming measure — was not affecting all neighborhoods evenly.

City staff addressed the concern saying streetlights in parts of the Old North End and the ritzy Broadmoor area had been spared due to a mistake — the city apparently thought the costs were being covered by citizens.

That's not the case, and staff says some lights in those areas will be switched off next week unless citizens volunteer to foot the bill.

Lights along a small section of West Colorado Avenue in the Old Colorado City area will be left on due to concerns about crime.

After the staff presentation, some Councilors said they wanted to see a breakdown of how many lights were shut off in each Council district.

Councilor Sean Paige wasn't one of them. Instead, he said he was concerned that staff only decided to darken the Old North End after being caught in an act of favoritism. He sited an e-mail he received saying the lights were being spared in order to protect the city and Colorado Springs Utilities — whatever that was supposed to mean.

"It just seems to me from this e-mail that it was a conscious choice and not an oversight," he said.

Here are his e-mails:

Hi Adrian:

I think you'll find the email thread below of interest. It appears that not everyone in the city is equally sharing the burdens of our streetlight deactivation program — an issue I raised with Jerry Forte at a lunch early last week. I intended to raise it publicly at last week's utility board meeting, but I put that off until today, in order to give city staff a few extra days to think through a fix. The only fix I support is a one-third deactivation of the unaffected areas. As the thread below indicates, some areas of town apparently were given a pass, and received what appears like preferential treatment. Although residents and businesses in the areas indicated were paying for the ornamental light poles, that doesn't and shouldn't mean that they get a waiver on deactivation of the lights inside those poles. While some of my constituents living in rougher neighborhoods have had their lights turned off, lights in the Old North End are still burning bright. That seems to indicate that a double standard exists. And that's unacceptable, in my opinion.

I'm not sure whether any other areas of town got a pass. But the issue will be raised at the informal today.

Call me if you want to talk more about this.

Sean



To: seanpaige@msn.com
Subject: RE: Streetlight question
From: jaforte@csu.org
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 2010 10:40:22 -0600

Sean,

Yes I believe you are correct. A decision was made by the City Traffic Engineer to leave these on in view of the fact that customers are still paying an annual levy for their installation. I have a call into Cam McNair to confirm this again and perhaps get additional insight into the decision. I will update you before the meeting this afternoon if I hear back from Cam by then.

Thanks,

Jerry

From: SEAN PAIGE
To:
Date: 04/21/2010 10:34 AM
Subject: RE: Streetlight question


Translate for me. This seems to indicate that the lights were excluded from the program; or am I wrong?

To: Seanpaige@msn.com
CC: BMcCormick@csu.org
Subject: Fw: Streetlight question
From: jaforte@csu.org
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2010 13:33:16 -0600

Sean,

Here's what I found out about the ornamental lights in the old north end.

Jerry

——- Forwarded by Jerry Forte/USR/CSU on 04/20/2010 01:29 PM ——-
From: Bruce McCormick/USR/CSU
To: Jerry Forte/USR/CSU@CSU
Date: 04/20/2010 12:07 PM
Subject: Fw: Streetlight question


Jerry, here is information on ornamental light projects.

Bruce

From: Jim Thomas/USR/CSU
To: Mason Parsaye/USR/CSU@CSU
Cc: Kelly McGillivray/USR/CSU@CSU, John Romero/USR/CSU@CSU, Kelly McGillivray/USR/CSU@CSU, Tim Benedict/USR/CSU@CSU, Jim Thomas/USR/CSU@CSU
Date: 04/20/2010 10:05 AM
Subject: Streetlight question


Mason,

Your voice mail asked why we have not turned off any of the ornamental lights on Wood Av, Tejon St north of Uintah and in Old Colorado City.

Wood Av: I believe the ornamental lights on Wood Av are all on intersections.

Tejon St: The ornamental lights on Tejon were installed on a Local Improvement District (LID) approved by the City Council in 2007. The City pays the cost of the project to the Utilities and then collects the costs plus administrative fees on the property taxes of the homeowners over a period of ten years. The project costs did not include any monies for ongoing O&M. We hoped to protect the Utility and the City Council by not turning off these lights while the homeowners are still paying for them on their taxes. Also, a second LID project (For Wood Av) is going before the City Council at the May 11, 2010 meeting. They are asking for six new ornamental lights and six replacement ornamental lights. I believe this is pertinent information for our officers, for the City and for the City Council.

Old Colorado City: The streetlights in Old Colorado City were replaced with ornamental lights in 2005. The project costs were paid by the merchants in that area. We installed double globe lights. The project costs did not include any monies for ongoing O&M. I believe we could turn off the second globe at each light.

Let me know if you need more information.

Jim Thomas

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