Hillsboro awarded grant for light replacement for safety

The Hillsboro City Council met on Tuesday, June 4 and heard from Hillsboro City Administrator Matt Stile’s Assistant Callie Arnold about a grant that she applied for on behalf of the city and it was awarded to the city on Thursday, May 23. Arnold announced that the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) granted the City of Hillsboro an award of $30,805 through the commission and the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program.

She explained that the awarded funds are to be used only to purchase equipment and supplies for the replacement and installation of 67 high-pressure sodium street lights (HPS) to light-emitting diodes (LED) throughout the Hillsboro community.

“It was a long process. I had to acquire a lot of information. A lot of different people were contacted specifically from the electric department. I got lots of statistical input about our current high-pressure sodium street lighting that is sporadic around town, how much energy it uses and how much they cost us every year. And I got a quote from Todd Helmer specifically about how much LED streetlight heads would cost so I could figure out the budget. It was a lot of general research,” said Arnold.

Arnold said they focused on public safety around town such as keeping Tabor students safe as well as residents and children.

“In particular, we’re replacing 67 HPS lights. The specific areas this project would address are 27 lights on Adams St, 11 lights on Lincoln St, 10 lights along the Sports Complex Rd, 8 lights on the east side of A St – just south of the Elementary School, 6 lights along Jefferson and B St and 5 lights along the alley of the Splash Pad, half a block east of Main St,” said Arnold.

Arnold explained in her handout to the council that in terms of overall benefit to the community, this project would make Hillsboro more energy efficient, cut costs for maintenance and energy usage and improve safety in high-traffic areas of neighborhoods.

Currently, the annual energy usage of 1 HPS street light is approximately 73,400 kilowatt hours. The 67 HPS lights still in use cost the city an annual amount of $2,690 with an additional $5,025 in maintenance. Equivalent LED replacements are approximately 30% more energy efficient, cutting annual energy usage down to 500-kilowatt hours and the cost to $897 with little to no maintenance required. The projected annual savings would total $6,484 thus generating enough savings to have paid for the upgrade in 5 years.

The financial impact felt by the City of Hillsboro for this project would essentially be zero. In her grant proposal to the KCC, Arnold expressed that the awarded funds would go solely to equipment and supply expenses while the city would utilize employees and existing budget for the labor and installation of the project. It’s required for the grant.

Arnold explained to the board that this opportunity would prove to be abundantly beneficial for the City of Hillsboro.

“Not only might we immediately begin to realize the advantages of energy efficiency, but accepting

a win, like this grant, will pave the way toward accepting many more to come. It is humbly

requested that the council approve the EECBG agreement,” said Arnold.

The council approved the agreement.

In other business, the council:

* heard an annual department presentation from Hillsboro Police Chief Jessey Hiebert.

* approved ordinance 1394 establishing licensing for food trucks within the city

* heard and approved the request to purchase a 500 kVA transformer for the USD 410 AC upgrade in the big gym at the high school. The cost is not to exceed $38,000 and is estimated to be $37,096.15.

* learned that the city and HDC have begun working on a transition plan to move the bowling alley to city ownership. Stiles plans to sit down with current bowling alley manager Clint Siebel in the next few weeks to hear his plan.

* heard from Stiles that contracts with Vogts-Parga have been completed for the Adams project. “They anticipate mobilizing the week of June 10-14 to begin work. Our crews will do the water main work on Adams and A Street the week before. We are asking Vogts-Parga to subcontract the sewer work so it can be included in the KDOT grant amount. Since bids were lower than expected we may also be able to do more work east and west of the Adams and A Street intersection. That would allow us to tap into the full amount of the KDOT grant while remaining in the original budget,” said Stiles.

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