Village Might Turn Off Lights

Mingo Junction Village Council heard Tuesday from a representative of American Electric Power about turning off streetlights as a way to save money.

James Huggins Jr. of AEP said the village is paying for 579 streetlights throughout the community.

Officials also clarified a statement made at a previous council meeting that the village spends $70,000 a year on streetlights. Clerk John Angelica said the $70,000 includes all outdoor lights in the village, including lights outside the water and sewer plants. Angelica said the village spends about $50,000 a year just on streetlights.

Huggins said AEP, upon notification by the village to proceed, will place caps over the light sensors for six months that will not allow the streetlights to come on. The village at any time during the six months can change its mind about turning off the lights and the cap be removed. Huggins said AEP at the end of six months will begin the process of physically removing the lights from poles.

Huggins said the village will have to pay about a $17 monthly fee for each streetlight that is turned off during the six-month period. Huggins said AEP loses money on streetlights in communities. He said the cost of taking down the lights from poles is actually greater than that $17-per-month fee.

Huggins said residents can request AEP at the end of the six-month period to install a different type of light on poles where streetlights are located. He said streetlights focus the light beam on the street. The other lights that residents can ask to have installed will shine light in a more circular pattern, he said. The cost to the homeowner will be $10 a month.

Councilman Jack Brettell suggested the village charge residents the $5 monthly fee the village currently pays AEP for each streetlight, plus an administrative fee. Angelica said the village should not want to get into that type of billing.

“In a year you will find it to be a nightmare,” said Village Solicitor Ernest Wilson.

Councilman James Morrocco said the village will have to be selective in choosing which lights are to be turned off.

Council’s streetlight committee now will begin the process of identifying which lights to turn off.

Also, Village Administrator Frank Fuscardo said he is in discussions with a company to install a garbage transfer station, similar to what Wintersville has, to reduce the expense of transporting the garbage to a landfill. He said it also will free up village workers to do other tasks.