Fonda officials discuss streetlight savings plan

FONDA – Streetlights were a topic of controversy at the village’s meeting on Monday night.

In January, village officials inventoried 126 streetlights in Fonda and decided they would have Street and Water Commissioner Christopher Weaver make a list of streetlights that could be shut off. Weaver then spoke with National Grid to have the listed lights shut off on a trial basis so the village could review which ones are necessary.

Mayor Bill Peeler said shutting off some streetlights is part of a reinvestment plan for the village. Peeler has been evaluating what sections and streets of the village need streetlights. He plans on replacing the current Cobra overhead lights, which cost about $4,800 per light, with a new model of light that has been installed on Route 30A. The new light is made of aluminum instead of fiberglass, is brighter and costs $1,500 per unit.

Village residents who live on the streets lacking light have protested this plan. At Monday’s meeting, complaints were heard from the public again.

Virginia Healey of Upper Prospect Street said her neighborhood is too dark at night.

“We would like the lights back on our street. I’m afraid at night because I can’t see. There has to be another way to save money,” she said.

Josephine Breuer, of East Street, agreed with Healey. She said she wants something to change in her area.

“It’s pitch black around my house,” Breuer said. “We say we want people to exercise and walk on the sidewalk, but it’s not safe at night. I can’t see.”

Peeler told the residents that streetlights are meant to illuminated the streets, not private property. He said property owners can invest in security lights or house lights.

“Security lights are for people’s comfort. It’s not the village’s job to get them,” he said. “Streetlights are for the roadway.”

However, Peeler also said he plans on getting two or three new lights installed on Prospect and East streets. This will happen after money has been saved.

“We plan to reinvest the savings,” he said. “You have to save the money in order to spend it.”

Also at Monday’s meeting, Peeler suggested a resolution to support Cornell University in reversing the decision to terminate its Local Technical Assistance Program of Roads. The program provides technical assistance and training to local government and highway officials in New York state. Trustee Lynn Dumar seconded the resolution, and the motion was passed.

The next village meeting will be Aug. 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the Fonda Municipal Building.